Cortège: Poems

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Carl Phillips is the author of nine previous books of poems, including "Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, 1986-2006";" Riding Westward"; and "The 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. As "The Boston Book Review" obser...

Paperback: 72 pages
Publisher: Graywolf Press; First Edition edition (March 25, 2002)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1555972306
ISBN-13: 978-1555972301
Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.3 x 8.7 inches
Amazon Rank: 2344574
Format: PDF ePub Text djvu book

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Carl Philips is a wonderful poet and this collection is among his best. His language is precise and yet magical. His understanding of topics such as desire and aging are truly amazing. His poem "The Hustler Speaks of Places" is a beautiful homage...

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ge" is 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 terrors--AIDS, loneliness--but 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 flavor--far 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 in "Cortege"] is both poised and informal, literate and personal."--"The New Yorker"""Cortege" is 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 word "gorgeously" here 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. ["Cortege" is] recommended for all poetry collections."--"Library Journal"