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PBS Newshour on poetry about 'growing up black in America'

A new article from PBS Newshour, entitled "Two fathers use poems to teach their kids about growing up black in America," features BOA poet Geffrey Davis (Revising the Storm, 2014) and poet F. Douglas Brown. Reporter Elizabeth Flock comments on how the two, through the poetry they write together, "explore with tenderness and anxiety the joys and perils of being a father—especially a black father—and how to escape the mistakes of past generations."

Known for his poetry on fatherhood in particular, Davis's work burrows under the surface of gender, addiction, recovery, clumsy love, bitterness, and faith. The tones explored in his A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize-winning debut, Revising the Storm—tender, comic, wry, tragic—interrogate male subjectivity and privilege, as they examine their “embarrassed desires” for familial connection, sexual love, compassion, and repair. Revising the Storm speaks to the sons and daughters affected by the drug/crack epidemic of the ’80s and addresses issues of masculinity and its importance in family.

"When poets Geffrey Davis and F. Douglas Brown first met at a poetry retreat in 2012, they instantly connected in discussing fatherhood and the poetry that sprang from that experience. Over time, that relationship grew, and they began writing poetry that came directly out of their conversations. Soon, they were even borrowing each other’s lines or writing stanzas or whole poems back and forth, as a kind of call and response.

"'In that first conversation we had, we talked about the expectation of what the black father is supposed to do or has not done,' said Brown. 'And I think we work against that. People always ask about the vulnerability in our poems, because that is something not readily shown in African American fathers. That, and the love we have offer.'"

Davis said, "'I felt blessed to have this chance to cultivate questions about doubts, worries, and wonders about what it means to be a father.'"

Click here to read the full PBS Newshour article.

To learn more about Revising the Storm, visit the BOA Bookstore.

*Image courtesy of pbs.org. Credit: Danielle Mitchell


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