Carl Phillips


Referred to 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. He was born in Everett, Washington in 1959, and his family moved frequently around the United States. He earned a BA from Harvard, an MAT from the University of Massachusetts, and an MA in creative writing from Boston University. Before teaching English at the university level, he taught Latin at several high schools. He is Professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis, where he also teaches creative writing. Phillips was elected a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2006, and since 2011 he has served as the judge for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Phillips lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Source

A Little Close Though, If You Can, for What Got Lost Here

            Other than that, all was still — a quiet

so quiet that, as if silence were a kind of spell, and

words the way to break it, they began speaking.

            They spoke of many things:

sunset as a raft leaving the water in braids behind it;

detachment, the soul, obedience;

swans rowing at nightfall across a sky filled with snow;

what did they wish they could see, that they used to see;

to mean no harm, or to not especially, just now, be looking for it;

what would they wish not to see, could they stop seeing;

courage mattering so much less than not spooking easily — 

maybe all nerve is; the search-and-rescue map wildflowers

make of a field in summer; deserving it, versus asking for it,

versus having asked, and been softly turned from.

            They said it would hurt, and it does.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Literary Devices:


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)