Carl Phillips

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 Drive
    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.

Carl Phillips is the author of 14 books of poetry, most recently Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018). Other books include The Tether, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, and Double Shadow, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.  His prose books are The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination (2014) and Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry (2004), and he has translated Sophocles’s Philoctetes (2004).  A finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, his 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.  In addition to contemporary poetry and the writing of it, his academic interests include classical philology, translation, and the history of prosody in English.

Writing Sample

Foliage

Cage inside a cage inside a whispering so deep that
– And then just the two of us.  And you calling it
vulnerability.  And me calling it rumor passing
through suspicion’s fingers – ashweed, flickering
halo of the boy I might really have been once, tiger
lilies beneath a storm blowing into then out of
character, then back again, as if seasonal, summer
now, now fall.  But I know suspicion has no fingers.
Vulnerability’s just part of the trash that rumor leaves
behind.  Wait it out long enough, the trash shifts, it
always does, in that way it’s like memory lately –
I’m the fist of instinct, cool, unstoppable, you’re
the dogwood’s crucifix-laden branches, I’m the fist
through the branches, you’re the fist, I’m the branches…

From Carl Phillips, Reconnaissance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2015)

This poem first appeared in Little Star

Courses

  • L13 541: Craft of Poetry
  • L13 522: Poetry Workshop