Cory Brown, professor in the Department of Writing, recently published a book of poems, A Long Slow Climb, with Cayuga Lake Books. The collection contains three sets of 21 sonnets, each titled “Inferno,” “Purgatory,” and “Paradise,” after Dante’s “Divine Comedy.” While in discussion with Dante’s epic poem, the collection also meditates on the current pandemic.
During an interview with Cayuga Lake Books, Brown said he used the “Divine Comedy” as a framework for his poems because of its ties to Catholicism, religious capitalism, and its themes of redemption. “Haven’t we all done something for which we seek redemption?” he said. “Have we not, many of us, enjoyed aspects of modern capitalism that has spawned this pandemic? Dante’s poem brings this complex inquiry to the surface — I’m simply riding its coattails.”
In his blurb of the book, poet Dave Smith praised Brown for how he was able to balance “tasks of elegy, history, religious inquiry, journalism, and philosophy” in the work. “Brown composes an altogether impressive rising against diverse and multiple odds, and not the least is a readable, smart, resonant poem trying to help readers make sense of a deadly year,” Smith said. “He reminds us how intensely the life of the mind matters when we are under duress.”
Some other books Brown has published include Elisions and What May Be Lost, both published under Cayuga Lake Books as well. Poems, 1986–1998 was published with Water Street Press, and A Warm Trend was published with Swallows Tale Press.
Read more about Brown’s book here.