REVIEW ON THE KENYON REVIEW ONLINE
July 2017—My review of one of my favorite recent books, Anybody (W.W. Norton, 2016) by Ari Banias, is in the new issue of KRO.
Banias challenges poetry to reinvigorate the lyric personal, the unique and individual faces of people. In this way the book has a feeling of an ecstatic hello, an invitation inside for anyone passing on the street. Like all good relationships, the book is complicated; its tone varies poem to poem, sometimes offering a litany of the names of “Gay Bars,” other times framing the speaker’s heart as a motorcycle, or “a hog riding solo, / highway hot, wind-smeared, ripping alongside a field,” and through all its interstates of narrative, candor, and image, it presents an intersectional cross section of the American lyric, providing the reader with many occasions for joy, for remembering, for “time to quiet down.”
“WHAT IS POETRY?” ESSAY ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
July 2017—My essay “What Is Poetry?” is now up on the Ploughshares blog.
For me, the best definition of poetry is the act and the experience of reading a poem. For every poem I read, I redefine poetry, little by little, so that I’m always, consciously or unconsciously, grappling with what it is and can be. This can happen poem to poem in a single collection, or it may arrive through the serendipitous juxtaposition of a poem I sought out and another that someone gave me.
REVIEW OF GROUNDSPEED ON LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS
June 2017—Lisa Russ Spaar reviewed Groundspeed alongside a re-examination of Olga Broumas’s Soie Sauvage on the Los Angeles Review of Books. Many thanks to Spaar and the LARB editors for their astonishing attention to my poems.
Out of this “scatter plot” of recollections crowding into travel’s liminal space, Phillips articulates the paradox of her own personal — as well as our century’s — limbo: “We are,” she writes, buckling her seatbelt for landing, “flying back in time, to the new world.”
‘THE POET AND THE NEWS” FEATURED ON PLATYPUS PRESS
June 2017—Thanks so much to Hannah Cohen for writing about my Ploughshares essay “The Poet and the News” for Platypus Press.
ESSAY “THE POET AND THE NEWS” ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
June 2017—My essay exploring the authority of removed poets on the violence afflicting others is now on the Ploughshares blog.
REVIEW OF IMAGINARY VESSELS NOW ON DIODE
June 2017—Thanks to editor Patty Paine for providing me with the opportunity to review Paisley Rekdal’s Imaginary Vessels for Diode.
UNCG ENGLISH SPOTLIGHTS INCOMING PROFESSORS
May 2017—The Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro has spotlighted their four incoming professors, including me. I will join the faculty of their MFA Writing Program this fall. I’m beyond excited about my new job, students, and colleagues.
ESSAY ON HUMOR IN POETRY NOW ON PLOUGHSHARES
April 2017—“Serious Subjects” considers whether poetry needs to be serious and asks, What is “serious” subject matter anyway?
ESSAY ON ELEGIES AND LOVE POEMS NOW ON PLOUGHSHARES
March 2017—“She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not: the Love Poem and the Elegy” begins:
All of my attempted love poems sound like elegies, and so I’ve given up trying to write them for my beloved, lest I give the wrong impression. Occasionally, however, one will come to me like a windfall, a speck of gold in the pan. Like the plastic baby in the King Cake—nearly breaking my teeth. These accidental love poems start elsewhere, among minutiae, my humblest attentions.
ESSAY ON THE RS 500
March 2017—My little essay about eccentric young men who think they deserve attention and expect others to absorb their abuses is now up on The RS 500 as a response to The Mothers of Invention’s Freak Out! album. Thanks so much to editor Brad Efford for always having me on The RS 500 bandwagon!
Being deep is often so shallow. I want to call out our darling boys. I want to say you’re so unique you’re nothing special.
TWO POEMS IN FOUNDRY
February 2017—My poems “Self-Portrait Without a Body” and “Pica of Unsaid Things” are in the new issue of Foundry. Many thanks to Elizabeth Onusko for giving this work a home.
POEM ON BANANGO STREET
February 2017—My poem “Barista,” inspired by the form of Laura Kasischke’s “Hostess,” is now up on Banango Street.
MANIFESTO IN NEW ANTHOLOGY
February 2017—Thanks to editors Rebecca Hazelton and Alan Michael Parker for including my poetics manifesto in the new anthology The Manifesto Project, now available from The University of Akron Press.
ESSAY ON LITERARY MAGAZINES NOW ON PLOUGHSHARES
February 2017—My new little essay “Earing the Clink of Chisels: An Imperfect Love Letter to Reading Literary Magazines” begins with my experience of reading 1918 issues of The Little Review at the Philadelphia Museum of Art Library & Archives (thanks, Susie Anderson!) but then becomes something of a meditation on reading lit. mags in general. Check it out over on Ploughshares.
JOINING THE FACULTY AT UNCG’S MFA WRITING PROGRAM
February 2017—In Fall 2017, I will join the MFA Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro as an Assistant Professor of Poetry. I’m thrilled about the opportunity, and I will be posting more about the transition here on the News page and at my blog, Ears Roaring with Many Things.
LIST IN NEW ISSUE OF TAB
February 2017—”A List for Mentors” appears in the new print issue of TAB: A Journal of Poetry and Poetics alongside my AWP Writer2Writer mentee Ann V. DeVilbiss’s poem and other program participants.
POEM IN NEW ANTHOLOGY
February 2017—My poem “Solitude of Space” appears in The Heart’s Many Doors: American Poets Respond to Metka Krašovec’s Images Responding to Emily Dickinson, edited by Richard Jackson, now available from Wings Press. More info about the anthology: “Slovian artist Metka Krašovek created a suite of drawings inspired by the poems of Emily Dickinson. Editor Richard Jackson began gathering poems created in response to the drawings — fascinating and insightful examples of double ekphrasis. The Heart’s Many Doors is a rich cross-genre combination of writing and art that functions as a multi-faceted commentary on Dickinson, art and the creative process.”
REVIEW OF SOLMAZ SHARIF’S LOOK IN DIODE
January 2017—My review of Solmaz Sharif’s poetry collection Look is now up in the 10th Anniversary Issue of Diode. Thank you to editor Patty Paine for publishing the review. Buy Look directly from Graywolf Press here.
ESSAY ON POETIC SCALE & SCOPE ON PLOUGHSHARES
January 2017—“White-Out Conditions: Poetic Page, Scale, and Scope,” my latest Ploughshares essay, explores poetic scale and scope, form and format, composition mediums, Dana Levin’s Banana Palace, and more!
THE COLLAPSAR‘S WEEKLY RECOMMENDATIONS
January 2017—Thanks to the editors of The Collapsar for including my poem “Age of Beauty,” a Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets, on their list of favorite reads this week!
POEM ON POEM-A-DAY
January 2017—Thanks to Alex Dimitrov for including my poem “Age of Beauty” on Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets.
POEM ON BOAAT
January 2017—Thanks to poetry editor Shane McCrae for including my poem “This is how I came to know how to,” from my third manuscript Empty Clip, in the new issue of BOAAT.
POEM ON GLASS POETRY‘S 2016 RECOMMENDED READING
December 2016—Thanks to Glass Poetry for including my poem published originally in Muzzle in their “Recommended Reading: 2016” list!
ESSAY ON HEARING & DRAFTING POETRY ALOUD NOW ON PLOUGHSHARES
December 2016—My essay “Aloud Poetry” explores poetry heard aloud, including poems by Lucille Clifton and Gerard Manley Hopkins.
The longer I’ve lived my life with poetry, the more I desire to hear it aloud, experience it aloud.
ESSAY ON POETRY’S RELEVANCE & THE RISK OF TOO MUCH EMPATHY ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
November 2016—My essay “Truth & Dread: Why Poetry Still Matters & the Risk of (Too Much) Empathy” is now on the Ploughshares blog.
Can the act of empathy, learned from literature and poetry, become an act of appropriation when we take it to our lived lives? This is a question I haven’t been able to answer. Each of us is not a sun around which others revolve; we cannot, like black holes, pull everything into us without risking erasure, of others, of ourselves. Perhaps more than the practice of empathy, poetry offers us the opportunity to listen, and not just in the way that it appeals to the same areas of the brain music stimulates, and not just in the way that we can hear the cadence and rhythm and sounds of poetry. Perhaps poetry offers us the opportunity to hear its many speakers, to not so much as internalize each of their voices and experiences as to confirm them, to say, you are you, you are a voice, I hear you.
ESSAY RESPONSE TO DAVID BOWIE’S ALADDIN SANE NOW ON THE RS 500
November 2016—In this response to David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane, I explore the body, trauma, road trips, and more.
Tonight, my body reveals itself only in its sleepiness. I’m uncertain if the bodily disconnect is a good or a bad thing, something I should want, something I should even need. Do we need the mercy of being relieved from our bodies sometimes? Does you mean the you I understand myself to be, or the you that others see me as, a body?
Thanks to editor Brad Efford for having me back on The RS 500.
BENEATH THE ICE FISH LIKE SOULS LOOK ALIKE ON SMALL PRESS DISTRIBUTION BEST SELLERS LIST FOR OCTOBER 2016
November 2016—My chapbook Beneath the Ice Fish Like Souls Look Alike is #14 on the SPD Best Sellers List for October! Thanks to Bull City Press for all their support of the chapbook.
UPCOMING READING AT WILLIAMS CENTER FOR THE ARTS
October 2016—This coming Wednesday, November 2nd, I’m reading for Red Wheelbarrow Poets & The Williams Poetry Readings at the Williams Center For The Arts in Rutherford, New Jersey. There will also be a brief response to the poetry of WCW & readings from the floor. Event info is available on Facebook.
2017 BLOGGING FOR PLOUGHSHARES
October 2016—I’m excited to announce that I’m continuing on as a blogger for Ploughshares in 2017. Thanks to Ellen Duffer for inviting me to stick around. My next post will go up on November 21st, and my author archive compiles all of my posts in one place.
READINGS AT WASHINGTON & JEFFERSON COLLEGE AND MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY
October 2016—This week I’m reading at Washington & Jefferson College (Wednesday) and Montclair State University (Friday). I hope to see you there, western Pennsylvania & Montclair, New Jersey friends! Thanks to George David Clark and Claudia Cortese for having me out.
Wednesday, October 26, 2016, 7 PM: A Reading by Emilia Phillips at Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, PA.
Friday, October 28, 2016, 10 AM: A Reading and Q&A by Apryl Lee & Emilia Phillips at Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ.
THANK YOU, DODGE POETRY FESTIVAL
October 2016—Thanks so much to the Dodge Poetry Festival for having me as a festival poet this year. I had such an incredible time, and I feel charged up as both a writer and a teacher. I’ve included some photos below.
ONLINE POETRY WORKSHOP “EVERY PHANTOM // A STORY: ERASURE & REVISION” SCHEDULED FOR SPRING 2017
October 2016—In the spring, I’m teaching an eight-week online poetry workshop, “Every Phantom // A Story: Erasure & Revision,” for 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center Online Writing Program. I hope to have you join me for this generative & erasive workshop from March 6 to April 28. Registration: $500. Course description:
What isn’t said in a poem is just as meaningful-just as much a craft choice-as what is said. As poets, we so often go to the page with the intention of telling our readers something; this approach, however, often positions us between the reader and the text, like a person narrating a movie in front of the projector. In this course, we will investigate the ways in which poems “write themselves” and how images, without the aid of expositional transitions, create their own narratives, after Cesare Pavese’s idea of the “image narrative.” We will discover the impact and implied meanings of white space in poems, and we will investigate the strategies of other poets in revising through redaction and compression. We will look at erasure texts-texts that have been redacted into new texts-by poets like Mary Ruefle and Robin Coste Lewis, and consider the legacies of poets, like Sappho whose work survives only in fragments. Throughout the course of the eight weeks, participants will be asked to draft at least six new poems, unwieldy and wild and uninhibited, that in subsequent weeks they will slowly revise, re-form, and compress; through these long-term revision strategies, participants will be able to introduce subtext and depth to their poems, while honing their craft and style.
GROUNDSPEED INCLUDED ON BEST DRESSED
October 2016—Many thanks to Sundress Publications, especially Sam Slaughter, for naming Groundspeed Best Dressed on their blog, The Wardrobe. For this feature, the blog posts one poem a day for five days. Here’s a list of each entry and the date it appeared:
- October 17: “Pastoral (Future Interstate)”
- October 18: “Stopping at Texaco a Year After My Brother’s Death”
- October 19: “Wheelchair in a Hayloft”
- October 20: “YouTube: Dog Eating a Human Leg On the Ganges”
- October 21: “The Episode of Cops In Which My Father Appears”
DODGE POETRY FESTIVAL THIS WEEK
October 2016—This Thursday, October 20th kicks off the official events for the 30th Anniversary Dodge Poetry Festival. On Wednesday night, I will be reading in a preliminary event and then again on Saturday and Sunday in the festival poet lineup. Here’s the complete information about my events:
Wednesday, October 19, 2016, 7 PM: A Reading by New Jersey Dodge Poetry Festival Poets Jonterri Gadson, Emilia Phillips, and Vincent Toro, Barnes & Noble, 765 Route 17 South, Paramus, NJ.
Thursday, October 20–Sunday, October 23, 2016: Dodge Poetry Festival, NJPAC, Newark, NJ.
Saturday, October 22, 3:30-4:40 pm: Festival Poet Reading by Mahogany L. Browne, Jonterri Gadson, Laurie Ann Guerrero, Rickey Laurentiis, and Emilia Phillips, Trinity–St. Philips, 608 Broad St, Newark, NJ.
Sunday, October 23, 9:30–10:40 am: Festival Poet Reading by Nicole Terez Dutton, Jonterri Gadson, Stephanie Lenox, Emilia Phillips and R.A. Villanueva, Newark Museum, 49 Washington St, Newark, NJ.
ESSAY ON POSTHUMOUS PUBLICATION ON PLOUGHSHARES
October 2016—My essay “The Silence Waits, Wild to Be Broken: Posthumous Publications and the Lives of Poems” considers my brief time working with the poems of Larry Levis and Claudia Emerson toward posthumous publication. It also allows those with more of a role to talk about the experience of working with writers works after their deaths. Thanks to everyone who contributed, and thanks to Ellen Duffer and Ploughshares for publishing the piece.
But one must wonder then who an uncollected volume is for. Is it for the friends and family of the poet? The readers who already know and love the work? If so, how one might argue that the relevance of any given collection is based strictly upon the individual reader, rather than the publishing market as a whole.
FEATURED ON LYRIC ESSENTIALS
October 2016—Lyric Essentials from Sundress Publications had me on to read and discuss Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s poem “Song.” Thanks to Chris Petruccelli for inviting me to celebrate one of my favorite poems.
POEM ON LUNCH
September 2016—My poem “To the Neighbor Boy with His Father’s Hunting Rifle, Begging Police to Shoot” is now up on Lunch. To get to the poem, click on the top right square or look to the comments here for a direct link.
Thank you, D Period Gilson, for including me in this “Politics” issue alongside work by Jennifer L. Knox, Will Stockton, Sarah Leavens, Charles Jensen, Michael Carosone, Glen Armstrong, Hannah Smallwood, Kelly DuMar, Christine Butterworth-McDermott, Jim Elledge, ings, William Walsh, Caroline Crew, James Penha, Jonathan Travelstead, Hunter Heath, C. Russel Price, Daniel C. Remein, JoAnna Novak, KC Trommer, Andrew Rihn, Alan C. Montroso, Denise Duhamel, Derrick Miller, Stephen C. Mills, Sujata Iyengar, Kendra Leonard, Philip Dean Walker, Aaron Smith, Sarah J. Sloat, Alexa Huang, Jeoffrey A. Pucci, and Robert Wrigley.
ESSAY ON POETRY AND LONELINESS OVER ON THE PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
September 2016—“It Might Be Lonelier Without the Loneliness: Poetry and Loneliness” is now live on the Ploughshares blog.
I’ve started collecting lines about loneliness without even realizing what I was doing, the way one might walk a maze without realizing the path from above looks like a star or a cactus or a horse. Larry Levis opens his poem “Ghazal” with the question and its qualification, “Does exile begin at birth? I lived beside a wide river / For so long I stopped hearing it.” Sometimes I worry that the act of reading poetry in my times of loneliness and grief will actually cause it to lose some of its effect, that it will become neutered of its comfort, that the Loneliness poetry offers will become like that wide river I live beside for so long that I stop hearing it. It hasn’t happened yet, but like Dickinson, I feel that I might be lonelier without it, that if there’s ever a time in which I lose my access to or desire for poetry, I will truly be alone, now and forever.
“DREAM OF THE PHONE BOOTH” INCLUDED IN POETRY OUT LOUD
September 2016—My poem “Dream of the Phone Booth,” which was originally published in Poetry and now appears in my third book manuscript Empty Clip, is one of the poems available to participants in Poetry Out Loud, the national poetry recitation contest. I’ve previously judged school-level POL competitions at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School in Petersburg, Virginia and St. Catherine’s School for Girls in Richmond, and I was able to attend the Virginia finals two years ago. I’m always in awe of the young people who participate in the program, and to have one of my own poems included here is an enormous honor for me. Thank you to Poetry Out Loud, and for Patty Smith for letting me know about the inclusion.
DATE ADDED TO FALL 2016 READINGS
September 2016—As a prelude to the Dodge Poetry Festival, festival poets who are regionally based will be reading at the Barnes & Noble in Paramus, New Jersey on Wednesday, October 19th at 7 pm.
FALL 2016 READING SCHEDULE
September 2016—I have some readings, lectures, and workshops in support of Groundspeed and OFFSET: A Poetry Broadside Digitization Project lined up for Fall 2016. The updated schedule is available on the Readings & Events page.
BLOG ACTIVE AGAIN
September 2016—I’m trying to blog again with some of my writing exercises, something I love but went by the wayside in my transition to full-time faculty last year. Right now, in order to make this easier for me, I’m linking from my blog to my exercises in my Google Drive. I’ve got my two first-day exercises for Craft of Prose and Poetry Workshop up, along with a note about #FridayWritingDay. Check them out over on Ears Roaring With Many Things: On Writing & Teaching Creative Writing.
REVIEW OF LINDA GREGERSON’S NEW AND SELECTED ON LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS
August 2016—“Home to Humanity: Linda Gregerson’s Prodigal: New and Selected Poems, 1976–2014“ is now available on the Los Angeles Review of Books. It was an honor to spend this much time with Gregerson’s work.
If the language of Gregerson’s poems could be played on the piano, the player would have to press down on the sustain pedal in order to render musically the length of attention paid to every word. In the previous passage, the word ‘here,’ separated from the rest of its sentence by a stanza break and indentation, hangs, both syntactically and conceptually, ‘in borrowed air.’ All of Gregerson’s poems are both meticulously formal and immediate; it is precisely because she breaks her lines with such precision that we hear her words as if they were uttered in real time. Gregerson orchestrates voice and persona with maximal care, asking readers to connect to that voice in the moment and insisting that they remember what is said.
“PHONESTHESIA: POETIC SOUND AND DIEGETIC NOISE” ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
August 2016—In my new Ploughshares blog post, I ask questions like “Can I make a horse neigh in a poem…?” with a straight face. Thanks to Ellen Duffer and Amelia Hassani for the inclusion.
INTERVIEW APPEARS ON PET POETICS
August 2016—Thanks to Ruth Award for interviewing me about my dog Grady on Pet Poetics.
“All the dogs I’ve ever had give me ideas for occasions of joy.”
BRIEF INTERVIEW APPEARS ON THE MIRA PROJECT
August 2016—Thanks to Scherezade Siobhan for inviting me to participate in a brief interview over on The Mira Project, a global conversation on gender, violence, street harassment and women’s mental health.
SIX MONTHS OF BLOGGING FOR PLOUGHSHARES
August 2016—I have been blogging for Ploughshares for six months now, and my seventh post “Phonesthesia: Poetic Sound and Diegetic Noise” will go live on on Monday, August 15th. In the mean time, all six of my previous posts, one for each month, are available at my Author Archive on the Ploughshares Blog.
- July: “Urgency: On Writing About the Body and the Corporeality of the Lyric”
- June: “The Cost of the Academic Job: A Personal Narrative”
- May: “L’Appel du Vide: On Visual Caesuras and Erasure”
- April: “Reconstruction: How the Lyric Essay Rendered One Body After Trauma”
- March: “The Autobiography of the Imagination: Toward a Definition”
- February: “On and Of the Page: The Life–Art Collapse”
PROFILE UP ON DODGE POETRY FESTIVAL SITE
August 2016—I’m still in awe of the fact that I’m going as one of the festival poets to Dodge this year. My bio is now up on their site.
INTERVIEW ON MEMORIOUS
July 2016—Thank you to Anastasia Stelse for interviewing me about Groundspeed for Memorious and to Rebecca Morgan Frank for arranging the conversation.
ESSAY ON WRITING ABOUT THE BODY ON PLOUGHSHARES
July 2016—“Urgency: On Writing About the Body and the Corporeality of the Lyric” is now available on the Ploughshares blog.
DODGE POETRY FESTIVAL
July 2016—I have been invited to be one of the poets at the Dodge Poetry Festival this October. This is one of my big poetry dreams, and I am so thrilled! The schedule and lineup will be available soon.
July 2016—Justin Bigos and I are completing an anthology of interviews with poets. We have narrowed down to twenty interviews we have published over the past few years. We are including an introduction on the art of interviewing and the state of contemporary American poetry. But, we’re struggling to find a press. Any ideas for a press that might be interested in such a project? Justin and I would be very grateful for any thoughts. Email me at phillipse01 (at) centenarycollege (dot) edu.
UPCOMING READING IN PITTSBURGH
July 2016—I will be reading with Jenny Johnson, Rachel Mennies, and Lauren Russell at East End Book Exchange in Pittsburgh on Sunday, July 31st at 4 PM. The poster is below!
GROUNDSPEED MENTIONED IN SUMMER READING LIST AT THE MISSOURI REVIEW
July 2016—Thanks to Corey Van Landingham for including Groundspeed in your Missouri Review summer reading list alongside new books by Brittany Cavallaro, Kathryn Rhett, Phillip B. Williams, Keith Leonard, and Aracelis Girmay.
REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR HVWC CLASS NOW OPEN
July 2016—I will be teaching “Walk the Line: The Tension Between Line & Syntax” at the The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center Saturday, September 24 from 12:30–4:30 pm. Come join us as we literally and figuratively walk poetic lines and consider the ways in which we can bring energy, precision, and depth to poems through our manipulation of line breaks.
“We will consider the relationship between poetry’s vehicles of meaning: the line and the sentence. In doing so, we’ll investigate the ways in which these structures support, nuance, and deny one another to achieve resonance, depth, and subtext within a poem. This course will be generative, with exercises that rely on close reading and formal manipulation of texts, as well as the drafting of new pieces. Whether you want to learn more about what your favorite poets are doing with their poems or discover how to break lines in your own, this course will insist that poetry is a craft, honed by exercises and study.”
Register on HVWC’s website.
ESSAY ON CREATIVE WRITING JOB MARKET NOW ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
June 2016—My essay “The Cost of the Academic Job: A Personal Narrative” is now available on the Ploughshares Blog. Many thanks to Ellen Duffer and Amelia Hassani for their super fine editing skills!
PHOTO FROM READING AT BERL’S LAST NIGHT
June 2016—Because I don’t often post about readings here, I thought I would share a photo from last night’s event at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop. I read with Hossanah Asuncion, Aracelis Girmay, and R.A. Villanueva, and we are joined in this photo by the incredible company of José Olivarez, Jon Sands, and Joy Priest. Oh, P.S. I’m wearing my goofy sunglasses because my regular glasses were broken!
POEM APPEARS IN HORSETHIEF
June 2016—My new poem “The CIA Livetweets the Assassination of Usama Bin Ladin Five Years Later” appears alongside poems by Joe Gutierrez, Anthony Madrid, Cate Lycurgus, Cynthia Cruz, & Dan Chelotti in the new issue of Horsethief! Thanks to editors Justin Boening & Devon Walker-Figuero for inviting me to be a part of the issue.
ESSAY ON VISUAL CAESURAS AND ERASURE ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
May 2016—My little essay “L’Appel du Vide: On Visual Caesuras and Erasure” takes a look at poems by Claudia Emerson (thanks Louisiana State University Press), Nate Marshall, Lo Kwa Mei-en, Vievee Francis, Brenda Hillman, Jean Valentine, and Shane McRae in order to consider motivations for using the visual caesura. From there, I consider the increasing popularity of erasure texts. Thank you Ploughshares blog editors Ellen Duffer and Amelia Hassani for all your help on this piece.
ERASURE PROJECT NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE
April 2016—I have finished scanning Sap, my Eusapian-themed erasure of Calvino’s Invisible Cities. All 50 scans, its transcribed text, process notes and background, and resources for erasure texts are available on this site.
ESSAY ABOUT LYRIC ESSAY FORM ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
April 2016—My essay “Reconstruction: How the Lyric Essay Rendered One Body After Trauma” is now live on the Ploughshares blog. Thanks to Amelia Hassani and Ellen Duffer for allowing me to talk about how I was drawn to the lyric essay form after going through excisive and reconstructive surgeries, how bodily forms sometimes beget textual forms. Ellen Lupton, Walt Whitman, Roxane Gay, Wisława Szymborska, and others are also quoted here. Here’s the opening:
I didn’t start writing lyric essays until I found out I had cancer. The melanoma buried in my right cheek was at first missed, and then misdiagnosed in its severity. Clark’s stage IV, they told me. Likely in my lymph nodes, but they wouldn’t know until my third surgery, the excision and biopsy.
I was coming out of a dry period in my writing. I had hardly written in the previous year since my brother’s death from complications arising from a rare genetic disorder. When I went back to the page, I couldn’t go back to it as I’d been there before, but I felt I must go back. I had something to say, and what if I didn’t have long to say it?
What If became my muse.
The poems became fragmented, full of white space. I broke lines unexpectedly, at least for me. Out of tune, out of sync/syntax. I revised through redaction, cuts, excisions. Everything seemed relevant and connected, even as everything seemed disjointed. Separate.
TWO READINGS IN THE NEXT WEEK: CHICAGO AND DC
April 2016—Coming up Saturday and Monday I’m reading in Chicago and the Washington, DC area. Check out the Readings & Events page for more details.
REVIEW OF BOY WITH THORN BY RICKEY LAURENTIIS
April 2016—Many thanks to Ron Slate for inviting me to talk about Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015) by Rickey Laurentiis for the Poets Recommend feature on On the Seawall. Here’s the full line up of reviews in this installment:
- Lisa Russ Spaar on Honest Engine: Poems by Kyle Dargan (University of Georgia Press)
- Joyce Peseroff on Forbidden City by Gail Mazur (University of Chicago Press)
- Evie Shockley on Olio by Tyehimba Jess (Wave Books)
- Jennifer Chang on River House by Sally Keith (Milkweed Editions)
- Kathleen Ossip on Notes on a Past Life by David Trinidad (BlazeVOX)
- Erin Belieu on Reconnaissance by Carl Phillips (Farrar Straus Giroux) and Smote by James Kimbrell (Sarabande Books)
- Dean Rader on LETTERRS by Orlando White (Nightboat Books)
- Sally Ball on Let’s Let That Are Not Yet: INFERNO by Ed Pavlić (Fence Books)
- Amanda Nadelberg on Primitive State by Anselm Berrigan (Edge Books)
- Emilia Phillips on Boy with Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis (University of Pittsburgh Press)
- Paula Bohince on Deep Lane by Mark Doty (W.W. Norton)
WORKING ON ERASURE OF CALVINO’S INVISIBLE CITIES
April 2016—I’m now working on erasures of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities. Here are some of the pages, blacked out with chalkboard paint.
POEM AND GUEST EDITOR PROFILES IN SPRING 2016 ISSUE OF PLOUGHSHARES
April 2016—Many thanks to Alan Shapiro and Tom Sleigh for including my poem “Static, Frequency” in the new issue of Ploughshares. Thanks also to the editors for asking me to write the guest editor profiles for Shapiro and Sleigh.
“BERTILLON: TAILLE” A PART OF THE NATIONAL POETRY MONTH VIDEO PROJECT
April 2016—Many thanks to Minnesota State University Mankato and Good Thunder Reading Series for including me in their National Poetry Month video project, and thank you to Rae Frame for reading my persona poem “Bertillon: Taille” in the video.
ESSAY ON TEACHING RANKINE’S CITIZEN ON SOUTHERN HUMANITIES REVIEW
April 2016—Many thanks to editor Keetje Kuipers and managing editor Aaron Alford for including my essay “The Pedagogy of Listening: Citizen as Required Reading, Rankine Required Reader” in Southern Humanities Review’s Teaching Citizen feature.
GROUNDSPEED GETTING AROUND
March 2016—Thanks to everyone who’s sent pictures of their copies of Groundspeed! I’ve included photos by Tomás Morín, Corey van Landingham, Caitlin Doyle, and Jon Muñoz below. If you have a copy of Groundspeed, post it on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #Groundspeed!
ACCEPTED TO “DIGITIZING THE CULTURAL RECORD” RARE BOOK SCHOOL CLASS
March 2016—After applying for a couple of years, I finally got into a week-long, summer class from the Rare Book School; this June, I’ll be taking “Digitizing the Cultural Record” with instructors Bethany Nowviskie and Andrew Stauffer. For the class, I will be working on a digitization project, and I’ve decided that I would like to digitize out-of-print, letterpress broadsides for a free digital archive of some sort. Although I’m still sorting out the details, I will soon contact small, boutique, and basement presses to ask if they would like to participate in the project by donating or lending broadsides.
“THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE IMAGINATION: TOWARD A DEFINITION” NOW ON THE PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
March 2016—My little essay “The Autobiography of the Imagination: Toward a Definition” is now live over on the Ploughshares blog:
The autobiography of the imagination writes itself, one could say. It writes every time we write, every time we dream or daydream. It is its own captain’s log, the transaction and receipt. It reveals the self to make the self into a stranger, twisting the I to wring out a you.
This is my second post for Ploughshares, and I have the great luck of getting to do nine more, one for every month remaining this year. The journal runs an excellent blog, with a slew of awesome guest bloggers. Many thanks to Ellen Duffer and Amelia Hassani for all their work.
HOLLOW POINT AND SUMMER PLANS
March 2016—As I round the corner on a near-final (I think) draft of my third poetry collection Hollow Point, I intend to turn to my lyric essay collection in early summer. By late summer, I hope to turn back to poems, with a particular focus on exploring an erasure project, now separate from the third book project, with Emilia (de Othello) and other women victimized by Shakespeare’s male “heroes” at the center, and I have registered for Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s workshop “In the Poem Lab: Experimentation, Contemplation, Collaboration & New Poems” at the Provincetown Fine Arts Works Center scheduled from July 17 (happy birthday to me!) to July 22, 2016. My hope is that the space will allow me to write outside of any kind of particular project or aim, and I hope that the generative immersion will renew me after finalizing the third book and working on the lyric essay and erasure projects.
In addition to these creative projects, I’ve also applied for the “Digitizing the Cultural Record” class at the Rare Book School with the hope of pursuing a digitization project of out-of-print letterpress broadsides for a digital archive. Fingers crossed for me that I’ll be accepted into the class!
BOOK RELEASE READING AT CENTENARY COLLEGE
March 2016—Thanks to English & Foreign Languages Department Chair Sharon Decker for organizing an incredible book release event; thanks also to my colleague Pat Maley (pictured) for a wonderful introduction, and to Tim Domick, Taylor Memorial Library director, for hosting the event. Thanks to the bookstore as well—we sold out of copies after the reading! Plus, there was cake and wine. What night could be better?
THREE POEMS ON THE COLLAPSAR
March 2016—My poems about that old website Faces of Death & my gun dread; high school bulimia; & the previous tenant at our rental in Gettysburg are hanging out over on The Collapsar! Thanks to Lena Moses-Schmitt for saying yes to these poems; they appear in my in-progress third manuscript.
GROUNDSPEED PUBLICATION DAY
March 2016—It’s March 15th, so that means Groundspeed is officially out and in the world today! Many thanks to my fabulous editor Mary Biddinger, designer Amy Freels, and the rest of the University of Akron Press staff for their amazing work to make this book possible.
AUDIO OF WRNJ INTERVIEW ABOUT GROUNDSPEED NOW AVAILABLE
March 2016—Tom O’Halloran, host of the local radio program Inside Centenary, interviewed me last week about my poetry, my second poetry collection Groundspeed, the upcoming book release reading on March 16th, and Centenary’s creative writing program. The audio is now available to stream and download here.
INTERVIEWS FROM FEBRUARY 2013–FEBRUARY 2016 ON 32 POEMS
February 2016—All of the interviews with poets I conducted from February 2013–February 2016 are now available under the “Interviews with Emilia Phillips” category on the 32 Poems blog.
INTERVIEW WITH CARMEN GIMÉNEZ SMITH ON 32 POEMS
February 2016—For the latest (and my last) interview on 32 Poems Carmen Giménez Smith talks about testimonios, an autobiography of feminism, poetry as a place in flux:
I’ve tried being a thinkier poet, a poet with more air and clouds and logic, but I love chaos and not-knowing in poetry. I’m rooted in the body, so I write for a human voice.
Many thanks to Carmen and all the poets who have met me on the page in conversation—you have made my world richer. I’m so grateful to David Clark for approaching me back in late 2012 and asking me to run an online prose feature; thanks also to Cate Lycurgus for taking over the series—I know you’ll be amazing; and love to all of you for following the series from February 2013 to February 2016.
AWP WRITER TO WRITER MENTOR AND MENTEE PROFILES
February 2016–AWP has posted the 2016 mentor and mentee profiles. I am working with the awesome poet Ann DeVilbiss. To find out more about her and her work, check out her profile.
February 2016–My second collection Groundspeed, officially due out on March 15th, arrived today at my house! Help me welcome it into the world! Preorder the collection through the University of Akron Press.
TWO POEMS APPEAR IN MEMORIOUS
Feburary 2016—My poems “Overpass” and “Nocturne, Lamar’s Chrystal Lounge,” which appear in my third manuscript Hollow Point, appear in Memorious 25. Many thanks to editor Rebecca Morgan Frank for including me alongside some great work by Dilruba Ahmed, Jill McDonough, Maggie Smith-Beehler, and others!
TWO POEMS APPEAR IN CHERRY TREE DEDICATED TO CLAUDIA EMERSON
February 2016—My poems “Apostrophe in Oregon Hill” and “Denouement,” which appear in my third manuscript Hollow Point, appear in Cherry Tree 2. Many thanks to editors James Allen Hall, Jehanne Dubrow, and Lindsay Lusby for making such a beautiful journal and for the dedication of the issue to Claudia Emerson. We were able to place Claudia’s poem “Child of the Desolate” from an unpublished manuscript titled Claude Before Time and Space in the issue as well, and it appears as the first piece in the issue. The issue also features work by Rick Barot, Keetje Kuipers, Rebecca Mogan Frank, sam sax, Matthew Olzmann, Vievee Francis, Lesley Wheeler, and others.
ESSAY “EXCISIONS” APPEARS IN NEW STORYQUARTERLY
February 2016—My essay “Excisions,” selected by Leslie Jamison as the winner of the 2015 StoryQuarterly Nonfiction Prize, appears in StoryQuarterly 49. Many thanks to Leslie Jamison, editor Paul Lisicky, and the rest of the staff. The issue also features Jenny Boully, Garth Greenwell, Kelle Groom, Mat Johnson, Rachel Yoder, and others!
AWP’S WRITER TO WRITER MENTORSHIP PROGRAM
February 2016—This week I started working with a wonderful poet named Ann DeVilbiss as her mentor in AWP’s Writer to Writer Mentorship program, and I have to say, what an incredible resource. I’m looking forward to the conversation and exchange with Ann.
ESSAY “ON AND OF THE PAGE: THE LIFE–ART COLLAPSE” NOW ON PLOUGHSHARES BLOG
February 2016—“On and Of the Page: The Life–Art Collapse,” my first Ploughshares blog post, considers the ethics and etiquette of the life/art collapse, including those sticky moments when a reader or audience member asks a poet personal questions based on poetic content as well as those occasions when someone reacts in conversation with “Have you written about that?”
Many thanks to Nick Lantz, Todd Kaneko, Pamela Johnson Parker, Trenna Sharpe, and Shara Lessley for contributing to the discussion. Here’s an excerpt:
Individuals eager to connect the dots between a poet’s life and their work should remember that these suggestions and liberties could impact the poet negatively. The very thought of writing about certain topics or discussing their poems’ subject matter could trigger anxieties, or worse. A good rule of thumb, then, would be to keep poems as poems and people as people, unless the poet explicitly invites the conversation.
“WITNESS AS LISTENING: AN INTERVIEW WITH OLIVER BENDORF” NOW ON 32 POEMS
February 2016—Oliver Bendorf, brilliant as always, talks “the wilderness inside a person,” “quantum humanities,” ghosts, listening, witness, and more in this interview I did with him for 32 Poems:
The muse may be at your side, but the ghost is inside of you.
INTERVIEW NOW APPEARS ON LIGHTBOX POETRY
February 2016—Here I go again conflating the body with poems, now in an interview over on Lightbox Poetry. Many thanks to Richie Hofmann and Kara van de Graaf for this wonderful interview.
In my poems, that’s exactly what I want to create: a land on which to walk and a body to do the walking.
“PORTRAIT OF A PRESS: THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON SERIES IN POETRY” APPEARS ON LOS ANGELES REVIEW OF BOOKS
January 2016—My pressmate Philip Metres profiles University of Akron Press, its closure & reopening last year, as well as its authors and staff, on Los Angeles Review of Books.
What happened between these two events is a story as much about literary and political activism against the forces of neoliberal corporatization as it is about a university press and its cherished poetry series.
“UNTETHERED FROM PRODUCT OR OBJECT: AN INTERVIEW WITH DIANE SEUSS” NOW UP ON 32 POEMS
January 2016—Diane Seuss gave me a doozy of an interview! We discuss “poetic structure born of ancestral memory,” the desire for poetry, and her latest poetry collection Four-Legged Girl, among other things, over on 32 Poems. Here’s just a crumb of the bread, from Diane:
The desire for poetry is not merely about writing it. Writing it is one symptom of desire, but poetry’s purposes are grander than that. Maybe poetry is not about a desire for something, but is desire itself, untethered from product or object.
TWO POEMS IN VINYL
January 2016—Many thanks to Vinyl Poetry for including my two poems “The Episode of Cops In Which MY Father Appears” and “Roadside America” in a feature with poetry editor Phillip B. Williams’s interview with me. These two poems appear in Groundspeed, forthcoming from the University of Akron Press in March.
I want poetry to come from truth-telling lies as much as my autobiographical experience, but I think that a reader can’t necessarily approach the reading of a poem or a poetry collection with the idea that they are going to sift out the “facts” from the fictions. If it’s in a poem, it is both a fact and a fiction: solid and liquid at once.
“THE WORMY COMPOST: AN INTERVIEW WITH REBECCA GAYLE HOWELL” APPEARS ON 32 POEMS
January 2016—Many thanks to Rebecca Gayle Howell for letting me interview her at 32 Poems. She writes:
One measure of my current life is that I write books I hope speak beyond the AWP crowd. My dear friend, the poet Ada Limón, and I have been in recent conversation about the word “accessible,” which is often thrown as an insult, but she thinks, and I agree, is anything but. I receive letters from Render’s readers, commonly from farmers and cooks, and those letters mean everything to me. I am a member of the working class; I started working in my parents’ diner when I was eight years old. Nikky Finney tells her students (of which I am one) “Don’t leave your people behind.”
“THE DAYS THAT WERE HAVE NOW” ONLINE AT BOSTON REVIEW
January 2016—My poem “The days that were have now” is now available online at Boston Review, in addition to its latest print issue. The poem came about from thinking about digital surveillance, spam subject lines, and the teenage girl who crashed her car into the tree outside my childhood bedroom window.
TWO ERASURES APPEAR IN HOUND
January 2016—“What Noise Is This?” and “Nay, Lay Thee Down and Roar,” two erasures intended as the choral voice of the two victimized women (including my namesake Emilia) from Othello, appear in the new issue of Hound. Many thanks to editor Danielle Susi for including these poems, and congratulations on the issue!
FINAL COVER OF GROUNDSPEED
January 2016—Amy Freels, designer at the University of Akron Press, has finalized the cover of my forthcoming, second collection Groundspeed, due out in March 2016. The cover features original artwork by Hollie Chastain and blurbs by Dana Levin, Kathleen Graber, and Nicky Beer.