“I pray for peace with the same mouth I hide the razor blade in”: Javon Johnson on his new poetry collection

In this episode, Lissa speaks with Javon Johnson, about his new poetry collection, Ain’t Never Not Been Black (Button Poetry, 2020). Javon Johnson, Ph.D. is a poet, performer, professor and recipient of numerous awards. According to poet Rudy Francisco, Dr. Johnson is “is one of the most brilliant writers in the world”.

This conversation was recorded on April 19, 2021, the day of closing arguments in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd as the case was sent to jury for deliberation in Minneapolis.

Copies of Dr. Johnson’s book can be purchased directly from Button Poetry (or your favorite independent bookstore!).

You can find a transcript of the interview here.

Episode 56 – Poet Javon Johnson

In this episode, Lissa speaks with Javon Johnson, about his new poetry collection, Ain’t Never Not Been Black (Button Poetry, 2020). Javon Johnson, Ph.D. is a poet, performer, professor and recipient of numerous awards. According to poet Rudy Francisco, Dr. Johnson is “is one of the most brilliant writers in the world”.

Host Lissa Jones and guest Javon Johnson during the virtual recording of this episode

Go Deeper: Additional Materials

Watch: Javon Johnson performs “A Letter to my Unborn Daughter” (courtesy of Button Poetry)
Watch: Javon Johnson performs “Black and Happy” (courtesy of Button Poetry)
Read: Text of readings from the episode, “Black 201,” “On the Murder of Black Children,” “Black Famous (A Faux Haiku Series). Courtesy of Button Poetry
In the episode, Javon talks about “On the Murder of Black Children” and discussing it with friends and poets Darius Simpson and Imani Cezzane. Learn more about them:

Darius Simpson: https://www.dariussimpson.com/

Imani Cezzanne: https://imanicezanne.com/

Additional context for “BLACK FAMOUS (A FAUX HAIKU SERIES)” 

Who is Clifton Powell?

Who is Fred Moten?

What is Dr. Johnson Reading?

Social Poetics, Mark Nowak Coffee House Press

A Billion Black Anthropocones or None by Kathryn Yusoff (University of Minnesota Press)

Salvific Manhood: James Baldwin’s Novelization of Male Intimacy by Ernest L. Gibson III (University of Nebraska Press)

Becoming Human: Matter and Meaning in an Antiblack World,  by Zakiyyah Iman Jackson (NYU Press)

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