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Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips’s latest book of poems is Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018). Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.


And If I Fall

Fall 2018 | Poetry

There’s this cathedral in my head I keep
making from cricket song and
dying but rogue-in-spirit, still,
bamboo. Not making. I keep
imagining it, as if that were the same

My Monster

Fall 2018 | Poetry

This hill, even if a small one, this hill with us and the dog the same dog 
forever moving shadow-like down it, to where the hill disappears…For 

Star Map With Action Figures

Fall 2018 | Poetry

More dark than gray, but not yet quite dark
entirely, the stories keep ending as if there were
a limit to what any story could hold onto, and this
the limit, the latest version of it, looking a lot like the sea
meeting shore. 

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 [...]