From the earliest age, Brian Broome was taught that a man was, basically, everything he wasn’t. The model of masculinity handed down to him, from his father to local kids, community, and even the local barbershop made him feel like his very existence was an affront. So, he started hiding, then began to play different roles in the name of belonging. Eventually, the weight of it all led to years doing nearly everything he could to destroy himself, sinking into addiction, until his body, heart and mind just couldn’t take it anymore.
Returning to writing, which he’d loved as a kid, Brian began to pour out stories. At first, for no one but him. It was his form of exorcism, of coping, and sense-making. But when he began sharing those stories and poems in the form of spoken word, everything began to change. Now, an award-winning writer, poet, and screenwriter, and K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh, and Moth storyteller, he shares his journey in the powerful new memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods (https://amzn.to/3fFbMwG). We dive deep into it all, including a hard, yet revealing and important look at how cultural norms about masculinity, sexuality and race shape our lives.
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