J. Scott Brownlee
J. Scott Brownlee is a poet from Llano, Texas. His work appears widely and includes the chapbooks Highway or Belief (2013 Button Poetry Prize), Ascension (2014 Robert Phillips Poetry Prize) and On the Occasion of the Last Old Camp Meeting in Llano County (2015 Tree Light Books Prize). His first full-length collection, Requiem for Used Ignition Cap, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and selected by C. Dale Young as the winner of the 2015 Orison Poetry Prize. Brownlee is a founding member of The Localists, a literary collective that emphasizes place-based writing of personal witness, cultural memory, and the aesthetically marginalized working class. He teaches for Brooklyn Poets as a core faculty member and is a former Writers in the Public Schools Fellow at NYU, where he earned his MFA. He currently lives in Philadelphia.
Praise for On the Occasion of the Last Old Camp Meeting in Llano County
An exquisite, pressing intelligence hums through Brownlee’s poems... He gives us Llano, Texas—cradle of his childhood—with all its glories and brokenness, as well as the poet born and jettisoned forth from that strange and terribly American place. This is a loving and mournful meditation, at once ode and elegy, and the everyday, in-between realities miraculously lived through. Brownlee describes the gamut unflinchingly, meticulously—from wildflowers to Walmart in a single bound—and makes a marvelous art of it. With the precision and maturity of voice realized here, it’s hard to believe this poet’s as young as he is. Lucky for us, this only means we’ll be blessed with his talent for many years to come.
—Michelle Bitting, author of NOTES TO THE BELOVED
There is a kind of uncanniness which binds the poems in On the Occasion of the Last Old Camp Meeting in Llano County together. This uncanniness is so loud that the world suddenly ceases, and the only things moving are Brownlee’s lines. They often feel disconcerting at first because they seek to challenge conventional knowledge, insisting that “the world so loved the world it gave itself to itself." Igniting a fusillade of violence and beauty, Brownlee's poems provide an indispensable understanding of what makes us vulnerable, and damned, and distinctly human.
—D.M. Aderibigbe, author of IN PRAISE OF OUR ABSENT FATHER
Chicago Review of Books: J. Scott Brownlee Brings Poetry to Rural, Working-Class America