Carl Phillips on Poets Cafe
The following interview of Carl Phillips by Lois P. Jones originally aired on KPFK Los Angeles (reproduced with permission).
Biographical Information—Carl Phillips
Carl Phillips is the author of 15 books of poetry, most recently Pale Colors in a Tall Field (FSG, 2020). His other books include Wild Is the Wind (FSG, 2018), winner of a Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His selected poems, Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems 1986-2006, was published by FSG in 2007. Other books include The Tether (FSG, 2002), winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, Double Shadow (FSG, 2012), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Silverchest (FSG, 2014), a finalist for the Griffin Prize. He recently published a chapbook, Star Map with Action Figures (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2019). A four time finalist for the National Book Award, and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, his other honors include the Lambda Literary Award, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation Poetry Award, the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, and the Academy of American Poets, for which he served as Chancellor from 2006-2012.
And so that was the first day.
The night was what night always is:
a black starfish, black according to some
for holiness, to others for the limbs themselves,
unfurling as if from long sleep or a late stiffness,
or as when a quiet thing, and very still, starts moving,
moves, one stiff black limb
at a time.
Excerpt from Pale Colors in a Tall Field © Carl Phillips (2020).