Cortège

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Graywolf Press, 1995 - Poetry - 69 pages
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Carl Phillipsis the author of nine previous books of poems, includingQuiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, 1986-2006;Riding Westward; andThe Rest of Love, a National Book Award finalist. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. This is the second collection of poems by Carl Phillips, whose first book,In the Blood, won the 1992 Morse Poetry Prize. AsThe Boston Book Reviewobserved,Cortegeis the work of "an erotic poet, one who follows his sexuality into surprising territory . . . The contemporary scene is fully present [throughout this book], with all its new and old terrorsAIDS, lonelinessbut Phillips's richness of mind is such that he often encounters in this life the artifacts of a couple of millennia of art and mythology. Which is not to say these poems have an academic flavorfar from it. The vision is contemporary, the language ours . . . What makes these poems such a coherent whole, in addition to their open sensuality, is the awareness they contain of the inescapable sadness of beauty . . . This is a poet of tact and delicacy, with an understated approach to even potentially explosive subjects." "A classicist by training, Phillips mythologizes the everyday as adeptly as he domesticates Ovid, and the verse [to be found inCortege] is both poised and informal, literate and personal."The New Yorker "Cortegeis a book that has been packed in salt: the durable salt of artistic making and the bitter salt of longing."Alan Shapiro "The poems of James Merrill and Paul Monette come to mind as one reads Phillips's second collection. Here is a poet who writes with the same masterly elegance, often enhanced by tight, three-line stanzas. References to Ovid, Dante, or Renaissance painting are as lyrical as his frequent descriptions of shadows and birds. 'And now, / the candle blooms gorgeously away / from his hand / and the light had made / blameless all over / the body of him.' The wordgorgeouslyhere points to the care with which each image is sought. Friends, lovers, and, by extension, readers are addressed with a parallel tenderness. Explicit sexual imagery is inserted so delicately that it's impossible to take offence. Written by a poet who also happens to be an African American, these are some of the most sensitive homoerotic poems to be found in contemporary literature. [Cortegeis] recommended for all poetry collections."Library Journal

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Cortege: Poems

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The poems of James Merrill and Paul Monette come to mind as one reads Phillips's (In the Blood, LJ 10/15/92) second collection. Here is a poet who writes with the same masterly elegance, often ... Read full review

Contents

The Compass
1
Kit
7
The Reach
13
Copyright

7 other sections not shown

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About the author (1995)

Carl Phillips is author of In the Blood, winner of the 1992 Morse Poetry Prize. He is a recipient of an Academy of American Poets Prize, and has published widely in journals including the Kenyon Review, the Paris Review, and the Yale Review. Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis and is currently visiting assistant professor of creative writing at Harvard University.

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