Carl Phillips

​Professor of English
research interests:
  • Poetry Writing
  • African-American Literature
  • Twentieth-century Poetry

contact info:

mailing address:

  • WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY
  • CB 1122
  • ONE BROOKINGS DR.
  • ST. LOUIS, MO 63130-4899

​Professor Phillips is the highly acclaimed author of 13 collections of poetry.

A finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, Phillips' other honors include the Lambda Literary Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Award, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, for which he served as Chancellor from 2006-2012.  

Phillips' first book, In the Blood, won the 1992 Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize and was heralded as the work of an outstanding newcomer in the field of contemporary poetry. In addition to contemporary poetry and the writing of it, his academic interests include classical philology, translation, and the history of prosody in English.

For more information, please visit Carl Phillips' department profile.

 

Silverchest

Silverchest

“After / the afterlife, there’s an afterlife.”

In Silverchest, his twelfth book, Carl Phillips considers how our fears and excesses, the damage we cause both to others and to ourselves, intentional and not, can lead not only to a kind of wisdom but also to renewal, maybe even joy, if we’re willing to commit fully to a life in which “I love you / means what, exactly?” In poems shot through with his signature mix of eros, restless energy, and moral scrutiny, Phillips argues for the particular courage it takes to look at the self squarely—not with judgment but with understanding—and extend that self more honestly toward others. It’s a risk, there’s a lot to lose, but if it’s true that “we’ll drown anyway— why not / in color?”