Meet TQ5 Poetry Contest Judge: Amaud Jamaul Johnson

Amaud Jamaul Johnson


Born and raised in Compton, California, Amaud Jamaul Johnson was educated at Howard University and Cornell University. He is the author of two books, Darktown Follies (Tupelo, 2013) and Red Summer (Tupelo, 2006), winner of the Dorset Prize. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University, his honors include fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Hurston/Wright Foundation, and Cave Canem. He teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Wisconsin—Madison.

Of Darktown Follies, Matthew Shenoda wrote:


In these poems Amaud Jamaul Johnson channels a confluence of Robert Hayden, Frederick Douglass, and Dave Chappelle to create a synergistic poetry that sings the lyric, chants down babylon, and makes your head spin with the ironic twists of history seated on the front porch of the present. Darktown Follies is an acutely discerning book that challenges the reader’s sense of blackness in the American landscape. Intimate, intellectual, and incredibly funny, this is poetry carved from a past that can only be seen in the light of this moment.