Poetry may be taken to the level of mainstream again with the emergence of the internet. It hasn’t been this popular since the advent of radio. Countless Websites are popping up every day dedicated to the writing and appreciation of poetry. One writer in particular is getting the attention of the academic as well as the commercial world. Jerry Browning is one of the most talented wordsmiths of our time and has been writing poems and lyrics for over thirty years. His newly release book of poetry, Emotionography, may be the finest volume of American poetry since Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”. Jerry paints pictures of loneliness, destiny, heart ache, passion, and glory that are unmatched. He takes life head on and is fearless when it comes to weighing in on political (“The Window”) and religious issues (“After the Rapture”).
If we were to describe Jerry’s talent as a poet and lyricist using baseball terminology, he would be classified a five tool player. He can speak of love like Elizabeth Barrett Browning (“Becoming a Browning”), write beauty like Robert Frost (“Savannah”), tell a story like Samuel Taylor Coleridge (“Sandscript”), terror like Edgar Allan Poe (“The B, B, and G”), and simple truth like Dylan Thomas (“Tools”). Jerry has always noted the year and where he happens to be at the time he writes. Leading into the compilation with his rough, early work takes courage. It is amazing and enlightening to watch how his style develops over time. The title is brilliant because it is truly a biography not of documented events, but of an emotional sojourn.
Jerry’s life story is more along the liking of an adventurer than a poet. He has led a full, interesting life and captured it in verse. His escapades include hitch hiking cross country, rock climbing, the “Urban Cowboy” type Texas barroom scene (Book 1), life in the armed services (Book 2 – United States Navy where he served onboard the USS Yorktown), and finally settling down to raise a family (Book 3). His style is his own and the way he uses the modern world in his descriptions will brand him as a man of his time. Yet, that being said, the way he writes about his era is timeless. Jerry’s poetry should definitely be considered modernist.
His passion for mechanics, electronics, and science come through in his writing as evident in “Stark Reality” and “Hoedown at the Robot Farm”. His humor is dry and sometimes bawdy but usually makes a point (“Bigot”). His love poetry and lyrics are full of feeling, passion, and at times extremely erotic (“Route 69”). Some of the songs he’s written could easily be popular on the music charts (see “Sleepytown” and “Lyin’ in the Dark”).
His influences include Harlan Howard, Jim Croce, Bob Dylan, and Jim Morrison. Although he has a famous last name in the poetry world, he thinks if he were to be compared to a classic poet, it would probably be Robert Burns. Jerry’s given name is Gerald Dwain Browning. He was born in Man, West Virginia on November 29th, 1958 and now resides just outside of Des Moines, Iowa.