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To consider Wisdom Teeth is to acknowledge inevitable movement, shift, and sometimes pain. There’s change hidden just below the surface and, like it or not, once it breaks, everything has to make room. So goes the aptly titled debut poetry collection from poet and educator Derrick Weston Brown. Wisdom Teeth reveals the ongoing internal and external reconstruction of a poet's life and world, as told through a litany of forms and myriad of voices, some the poet’s own.
Wisdom Teeth is a questioning work, a redefining of personal relationships, masculinity, race, and history. It’s a readjustment of bite, humor, and perspective as Brown channels hip-hop, Toni Morrison, and Snagglepuss to make way for the shudder and eruption of wisdom.
"This brilliant first effort is akin to a mixtape, filled with nostalgic hip-hop references—MF Doom, A Tribe Called Quest, and J Dilla, among others—a love letter from a grown man still much enamored of the youth culture today. Found here are playful experiments with the eintou, bop, and brownku, African American forms seldom approached with such mastery." —Simone Jacobson, managing editor for Words. Beats. Life: The Global Journal of Hip-Hop Culture
“We need more songs like this young man’s right here. Truth cuts its way beneath the unspoken like new teeth on their way to light. Son of Langston, come on through.” —Ruth Forman, author of Prayers Like Shoes
"Derrick Weston Brown ventures into the canon to echo the voices of Morrison’s Sweet Home Men, then bends his ear to the streets of DC to render the shouts and whispers of corner brawls and slapped down dominoes—all the while balancing the bridge between Ellington and the sacred tribes of hip-hop." —Tyehimba Jess, author of Leadbelly
"Full of wit and whimsy, Wisdom Teeth postulates a poetics of heart-whole appreciation and honesty—for love and life, for family and friends, for literature and history, for pop culture and the poet's ever-cognizant powers of observation." —Tony Medina, author of My Old Man Was always on the Lam
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About the Artist
Derrick Weston Brown holds an MFA in creative writing, from American University. He has studied poetry under Dr. Tony Medina at Howard University and Cornelius Eady at American University. He is a graduate of the Cave Canem Summer workshop for black poets and the VONA summer workshop. His work has appeared in such literary journals as Warpland, Mythium, Ginsoko, DrumVoices, The Columbia Poetry Review, and the online journals Beltway Poetry Quarterly, Howard University’s Amistad, LocusPoint, and MiPOesias. He works as a bookseller and book buyer for a wonderful bookstore which is operated by the nonprofit Teaching for Change, and is located within the restaurant, bar, coffee shop and performance space known as Busboys and Poets.
As the first Poet-In-Residence of Busboys and Poets, he is the founder and curator of The Nine on the Ninth, a five-year-old monthly poetry series, and helps coordinate the poetry programming at the 14th & V street location. He teaches poetry and creative writing to an amazing crew of seventh and eighth graders at Hart Middle school in Southeast Washington, DC, as part of the DC Creative Writing Workshop. He is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina, and resides in Mount Rainier, Maryland.
Published by PM Press & Busboys and Poets in 2011