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Pastoral: Poems
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About the Author

The author of three previous books of poetry-- From the Devotions, Cortege, and In the Blood-- Carl Phillips has received prizes and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of Congress, and has been a finalist for both the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

Reviews

"Carl Phillips' passionate and lyrical poems read like prayers, with a prayer's hesitations, its desire to be utterly accurate, its occasional flowing outbursts. Their affinity with John Donne is apparent, as they range from the mystical to the erotic. A third intensity is their devotion to language; Mr. Phillips writes with an almost whispered, at times almost unbearable elegance, as he reveals and declares some of the innermost truths of the human heart." --Judges' Citation, 1998 National Book Awards for From the Devotions "'Come back, come back. Tell us of excess' pleads the invocation (from Duncan) opening this stunning new collection from Carl Phillips. And indeed barely contained excess does function as a tutelary deity to this brilliant Romance: the poet questing for searing (even blinding) vision in a demotic world; the poet as seeker of moral instruction through the outrage of flesh.... Desire-- erotic and spiritual-- courses passionately through this collection-- the strict shape desire inflicts on the chaos desire lets loose. But Phillips addresses not only passion, but art, history, nature: all in his hands forms of wanting. His rhythms beautifully and powerfully various-- sinewy, majestic, casual, adamant-- he modulates from honesty to honesty like no one else; both trusts and beautifully second-guesses appearances with an accuracy that moves and amazes." --Jorie Graham Carl Phillips' passionate and lyrical poems read like prayers, with a prayer's hesitations, its desire to be utterly accurate, its occasional flowing outbursts. Their affinity with John Donne is apparent, as they range from the mystical to the erotic. A third intensity is their devotion to language; Mr. Phillips writes with an almost whispered, at times almost unbearable elegance, as he reveals and declares some of the innermost truths of the human heart. "Judges' Citation, 1998 National Book Awards for From the Devotions" 'Come back, come back. Tell us of excess' pleads the invocation (from Duncan) opening this stunning new collection from Carl Phillips. And indeed barely contained excess does function as a tutelary deity to this brilliant Romance: the poet questing for searing (even blinding) vision in a demotic world; the poet as seeker of moral instruction through the outrage of flesh.... Desire-- erotic and spiritual-- courses passionately through this collection-- the strict shape desire inflicts on the chaos desire lets loose. But Phillips addresses not only passion, but art, history, nature: all in his hands forms of wanting. His rhythms beautifully and powerfully various-- sinewy, majestic, casual, adamant-- he modulates from honesty to honesty like no one else; both trusts and beautifully second-guesses appearances with an accuracy that moves and amazes. "Jorie Graham"" "Carl Phillips' passionate and lyrical poems read like prayers, with a prayer's hesitations, its desire to be utterly accurate, its occasional flowing outbursts. Their affinity with John Donne is apparent, as they range from the mystical to the erotic. A third intensity is their devotion to language; Mr. Phillips writes with an almost whispered, at times almost unbearable elegance, as he reveals and declares some of the innermost truths of the human heart."--Judges' Citation, 1998 National Book Awards for "From the Devotions" "'Come back, come back. Tell us of excess' pleads the invocation (from Duncan) opening this stunning new collection from Carl Phillips. And indeed barely contained excess does function as a tutelary deity to this brilliant Romance: the poet questing for searing (even blinding) vision in a demotic world; the poet as seeker of moral instruction through the outrage of flesh.... Desire-- erotic and spiritual-- courses passionately through this collection-- the strict shape desire inflicts on the chaos desire lets loose. But Phillips addresses not only passion, but art, history, nature: all in his hands forms of wanting. His rhythms beautifully and powerfully various-- sinewy, majestic, casual, adamant-- he modulates from honesty to honesty like no one else; both trusts and beautifully second-guesses appearances with an accuracy that moves and amazes."--Jorie Graham

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