Living Weapon: Poems (Hardcover)

Living Weapon: Poems By Rowan Ricardo Phillips Cover Image
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Award-winning essayist and poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips presents a bracing renewal of civic poetry in Living Weapon.

. . . and we’d do this again
And again and again, without ever
Knowing we were the weapon ourselves,
Stronger than steel, story, and hydrogen.
— from "Even Homer Nods"

A revelation, a shoring up, a transposition: Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s Living Weapon is a love song to the imagination, a new blade of light honed in on our political moment. A winged man plummets from the troposphere; four NYPD officers enter a cellphone store; concrete sidewalks hang overhead. Here, in his third collection of poems, Phillips offers us ruminations on violins and violence, on hatred, on turning forty-three, even on the end of existence itself. Living Weapon reveals to us the limitations of our vocabulary, that our platitudes are not enough for the brutal times in which we find ourselves. But still, our lives go on, and these are poems of survival as much as they are an indictment. Couched in language both wry and ample, Living Weapon is a piercing addition from a “virtuoso poetic voice” (Granta).

About the Author

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of three books of poems (Living Weapon, Heaven, and The Ground), two essay collections (The Circuit and When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness), and a translation from the Catalan of Salvador Espiru's collection of short fiction, Adriane in the Grotesque Labyrinth. His awards include a Whiting Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, and the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award. Phillips is a Professor of English at Stony Brook University and teaches Creative Writing at Princeton. He lives in New York City and Barcelona.

Praise For…

Named a Best Book of 2020 by Library Journal

"Over and again, Phillips strives—within his own poems—to chip away at an explicit definition of what exactly we mean when we say 'poetry' . . . Throughout the collection, Rowan Ricardo Phillips refuses to abandon the past; instead, he interrogates its ghosts—in all their terrible admixture of violence and beauty—and, despite every reason not to, he sings." —Will Brewbaker, Los Angeles Review of Books

"In his dazzling third collection, Phillips (Heaven) explores social ills while celebrating poetry’s ability to provide solace and sense during times of upheaval . . . Phillips’s latest is lyrical, imaginative, and steeped in a keen understanding of current events." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Phillips’s determination to push beyond irony into affirmation is an audacious gesture – 'resilient as bioluminescence,' these poems of 'song and pain' announce a bold new talent." —David Wheatley, The Guardian

"The truths of Phillips’s book are plain and perceptive, harsh and oddly soothing." —Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions

Product Details
ISBN: 9780374191993
ISBN-10: 0374191999
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication Date: February 18th, 2020
Pages: 96
Language: English