Milton writer Jamie Brown publishes new collection of poems


It might be reasonable to assume that Jamie Brown’s collection of poems in “A Passing Acquaintance with Grief” is the result of quarantine during the COVID pandemic.

Although not, many of Brown’s poems speak to the painful realities of COVID as it continues to tax people’s lives.

Delaware has more than a passing acquaintance with Jamie Brown, who has lived in Milton for 20 years. He mentored many Delaware poets, and many remember his John Milton and Company bookstore, next to the still-missed Federal Street Café. His bookstore not only bore the name of Milton, the poet-philosopher, but was also a nod to the Parisian bookstore Shakespeare and Company.

Shortly after opening his bookstore, Brown launched the Broadkill Review, which he produced bimonthly for a decade as a meeting place for poets and writers, and which continues in line under the direction of Scott Whittaker. The annual John Milton Memorial Celebration of Poets and Brown’s Poetry, held each December at the Milton Theater for more than 10 years, was another important venue for poets, not only in Delaware, but also in as far north as Boston and as far south as the north. Caroline.

In 2007, the Delaware Press Association honored Brown’s work “Sakura: A Cycle of Haiku,” with the Best Verse Book award, and in 2018 his “The Delaware Bay: Poems” won the Best Chapbook category. of Verse. His play, “Death Comes Twice”, won the top four prizes in Milton Theater’s One Act Play competition in 2007.

To date, 19 winners from six states have won the annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which Brown launched with Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery. In 2023, the competition will celebrate its 20th anniversary.

In his new collection, “A Passing Acquaintance with Grief,” Brown amplifies Robert Frost’s confession, “I have known the night.”

Brown’s poem, “On Contemplation of the Imminent Death of the Family Patriarch,” written decades ago, is as painfully relevant today as when he wrote it.

In his poem, “Found”, he writes “It’s the long, slow unwrapping of the last great bundle, the unraveling, the unveiling, the understanding that the bundle is us, all the artifice, all the vanity, all the la laborious accumulated resistance to the defeated world.

Another of his poems, “To an Aging Friend”, is about love lost in another time and another place; it ends with “I can’t hope to love again.”

Still, there are poems in this collection that touch on ancient history, such as in “Last of the Horde,” which acknowledges the demise of Brown’s Hungarian ancestors. The facts of his poem, “Attila Lysergent”, are based on his ongoing 2,000-page historical novel about the fall of Rome from the barbarian point of view, which continues to occupy much of his time.

Merrill Leffler, well-known poet and publisher, said: “The haunting lyricism of Jamie Brown’s poetry does not shy away from the daily vicissitudes of life and all its wounds and diminishments, but these poems are complemented by a series of meditations rich in tropes. .”

Asked about the title and cover photo which features Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ “Grief” statue, 1891, Brown confesses, “It’s my attempt to address the realities and ironies of life. In fact, I I was finalizing a number of poems in this publication when my aorta burst open and I had a 6% chance of surviving.In doing so, this unexpected event has since influenced my outlook on life and therefore my poetry.

For more information on Jamie Brown’s work, email [email protected]


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