Carl Phillips Named National Book Award Finalist

Oct 15, 2009 at 4:15 pm
click to enlarge Phillips and Andy. - Jennifer Silverberg
Jennifer Silverberg
Phillips and Andy.
Carl Phillips, a Washington University professor, has been named a finalist for the National Book Award in poetry for his latest collection, Speak Low. This is Phillips' third National Book Award nomination. The awards ceremony will take place November 18 in New York City.

"I am honored, surprised, excited -- and above all, grateful to think that my work might resonate with someone besides its maker," Phillips said yesterday in a Wash. U. press release. But life will go on if he doesn't win. "Many of our greatest poets have never won this award. To have been singled out is an honor itself. The real pleasure will lie in making the next poem that I have to make."

Phillips is the author of ten books of poetry, one book of essays and one translation of the Greek tragedy Philoctetes and has already won a host of literary prizes, including the Samuel Morse French Poetry Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship and, of course, the highly-coveted RFT Best Poet of 2006.

Of Speak Low, Phillips says, "I think of it as a kind of meditation on risk, restlessness, and the ways in which being human can come into conflict with how society defines so-called moral and responsible behavior, especially when it comes to sex."

For more of Phillips and his work, check out Malcolm Gay's 2006 feature, "Chapter & Verse".