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Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Cortège, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; From the Devotions, a finalist for the National Book Award; and, most recently, Speak Low (FSG, March 2009)


Of the Rippling Surface

The dragonflies are only the first thing. How they’re not what you think, or thought you would. Couldn’t this, too, be rescue? And then how, eventually, you start forgetting to ask. The air hangs heavy with the smell of catalpa trees at last [...]

Master and Slave

For the longest time, he said nothing. I looked through the glass at what he was looking at: brindled dog shaking the rain free of herself in a field of flowers, making the colors stir where, before, there’d been a stillness like what precedes [...]

My Bluest Shirt

Now uselessness casts its shadowy ligature across If only. Now—never mind how briefly—conquest almost seems not to have, from the start, been the only color, each defeat a stepping-stone across a stream whose name, maybe, should have matter [...]

The Damned

Summer 2005 | Poetry

With an ease considerably past what even we’d expected, the brush took fire. The birds unhid themselves, flew abruptly elsewhere, like shame when, from the wrong end of a foundering argument, it at last lets go. Is it risk, for example, if what get [...]

Late Empire

Summer 2005 | Poetry

I mean after the lashing. After the welts that the lash gave rise to have healed so beautifully, we forget where they were. Here, we say, pointing vaguely, as toward a bird that could as easily be a sparrow hawk, any other falcon—as if it made no r [...]