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Call Me Exile: Poems (Stephen F. Austin State University Press, 2022)
"Here risk has begotten a treasure trove of language, delicate and precise to the task. Aaron Brown’s Call Me Exile contains poems of immense vulnerability, brilliance, and refined poetic focus— In this incredible book, absence is truly a mark of longing, where language has no limitation— 'it is a door', that reveals, in such unblemished likeness—with grace and elegance, the grief of exile and the grief of loss." -Saddiq Dzukogi, author of Your Crib, My Qibla
"Robert Frost said that poetry 'begins in delight and ends in wisdom.' Aaron Brown’s Call Me Exile begins in grief and loss and it ends there, viscerally (“metal teeth dripping sap”). Yet faith emerges in these poems. The faith is no rosy dream that glosses over our horrifying predicaments. It is a faith that believes when there is little evidence to believe. Divorce, miscarriage, sin, failure after failure spun down on fortune’s wheel: the grief in this book is palpable and, because it is Aaron Brown’s grief, it is wholly original... [T]his poet faces hurt with the clarity of clean lines and clear sentences. He makes his home not in the land of the living and the dead (it’s not that easy), but in “the land / of the living and the lived.” Just that slight alteration of language makes us pause as only fine poets can make us pause. By the end of the book we are still waiting. We turn back to the poems again. What a beautiful book." John Poch, author of Texases and Fix Quiet.
Less Than What You Once Were (Unsolicited Press 2022)
"No one has had this childhood except Aaron Brown, yet anyone can relate to the longing for the past expressed in this intricate and delicate memoir. Lush and lyric, Chad and the people who live there are alive in these pages, beautifully rendered in this English layered with Arabic and street-French. Less Than What You Once Were is a joyful and sorrowful and vibrant journey." Erin Stalcup, author of Keen
"I thought continually of two great works of lyric prose when reading Aaron Brown's powerful, grief-soaked memoir--Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse and its meticulous recreation, undoing, and half-stunned reaching back to an Eden that still has the power to to wound and make whole; and William Maxwell's So Long, See You Tomorrow and its hard-won confidence in the power of art to enter into and release us from the loss of a world that was finally not our doing. Time and exile whistle through these extraordinary acts of rebuilding, celebration, and longing--'huddled against the gate of a garden,' the poet Robert Hass writes, 'to which they can't admit they can never be admitted'--but the music carried to us on that wind, quietly swinging from here to there, discovered and lifted up and puzzled over in the very act of writing, is lyric thinking of the highest order." Thomas Gardner, author of Poverty Creek Journal and Sundays.
Acacia Road (Silverfish Review Press, 2018)
Aaron Brown's 2018 poetry collection, Acacia Road, published by Silverfish Review Press, is the winner of the 2016 Gerald Cable Book Award and the 2018 Nelson Poetry Book Award.
"Acacia Road is a vivid, brilliant, and haunting memory palace, evoking Aaron Brown's childhood spent in Chad on the cusp of its civil war, and while at times the 'second space' of recollection, seems idyllic, the sound of shelling and gunfire, and news of human violence is never far away." Michael Collier
"These poems proceed by an earnest story-telling and remembering. And while the surfaces of the poems are characterized by skillful narrative and descriptive impulses, underpinning most of them runs a deeper agon and self-critique, uncovering both a fear of and a relentless thirst for the ecstatic. These poems embody, at their best, that thirst." Li-Young Lee
"Brown’s voice is that of the pilgrim, the seeker, the nomad—think Ibn Battuta meets Rumi meets Rilke with some good old Mark Twain narrative sprinkled throughout—an Orpheus who returns to sing." Rhino
"Acacia Road strikes us with wonder. It tells large stories and small stories. It allows us to peer down the rows of acacia trees, sit next to the grandmother making bread, and listen to the workers singing their sorrowful songs." - Tweetspeak Poetry
"Aaron Brown’s poetry is beautifully written... transforming the ordinary into exquisite, blissful bits of writing. From the precious time spent with friends come these poems in which not a particular geographic region, but the land of youth, generosity and love is the true mother country so longed for." African Book Review
"Acacia Road is a collection I want to return to and hold my ear against. I swear, you can hear the silence violence brings about, splintering." Collateral Journal
Listen to Aaron's conversation with NPR-affiliate KMUW.
Read reviews of Acacia Road in the following publications:
Rhino, Tweatspeak, Collateral, and Englewood Review of Books.
You can read interviews with Aaron at The Hutchinson News.