Carl Phillips/The 53rd Wallace Stevens Poetry Program
Tuesday, March 22, 7:00 pm – Konover Auditorium
Wednesday, March 23, 1:30 pm – Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts
Sponsored with the Hartford Financial Services, Inc.
Described as “one of America’s most original, influential, and productive of lyric poets,” Carl Phillips is the author of a dozen books of poetry and two works of criticism. His most recent books of poetry are Silverchest (2013), Double Shadow (2011, winner Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry and finalist for the National Book Award), and Speak Low (2009, finalist for the National Book Award). Graywolf Press has published two collections of his essays: The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination (2014) and Coin of the Realm: Essays on the Life and Art of Poetry (2004). Oxford University Press published Phillips’s translation of Sophocles’s Philoctetes (2003). His work has been anthologized in The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry, (Vintage Books, 2003), Gay and Lesbian Poetry In Our Time, (St. Martin’s Press, 1988); and The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (Vintage Books, 2000).
Phillips’s honors include the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a Lambda Literary Award, the Samuel French Morse Poetry Prize, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Pushcart Prize, the Academy of American Poets Prize, induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of Congress. Phillips served as a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2006 to 2012. He is Professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches in the Creative Writing Program.
A classicist by training, Phillips often employs classical forms. While in his teens, Phillips began to write poetry. “I was a nerdy kid,” he told Lawrence Biemiller in the Chronicle of Higher Education. “Maybe it has to do with creating your own world. For some people it’s easier to create a world that you can rely on, that travels with you.” Phillips entered Harvard University on a scholarship, where he studied Latin and Greek. For a long time he did not write any poetry, but in 1990, while coming to terms with his homosexuality, he rediscovered his poetic voice. According to the Judges’ Citation for the 1998 National Book Awards, “Carl Phillips’s passionate and lyrical poems read like prayers, with a prayer’s hesitations, its desire to be utterly accurate, its occasional flowing outbursts.”