Born and raised in New York City, poet, literary and art critic, and translator Rowan Ricardo Phillips earned a BA at Swarthmore College and a PhD at Brown University. His poems engage the acts of post-9/11 memory and ruin, lingering in interrupted or merged landscapes of art, rhetoric, and marginalia. “Its title may suggest stability, but the ground Phillips treads is a middle ground—between spirit and flesh, heaven and earth, here and gone. His images are evanescent, twilit, smoke-obscured,” observes poet Eric McHenry in a 2013 New York Times review of The Ground, noting that “Phillips’s forms, too, are as much what they aren’t as what they are: made-over sonnets, pseudo-Spenserian stanzas, unrhymed tercets loosely translated from the “Purgatorio” (so loosely that they’re now about Bob Marley).” In a 2012 online chat interview for The Rumpus, Phillips discussed the connection he finds between poem-making and world-making, stating, “Poets, especially, as they’re in search of a sustainable way of creating with their language, absolutely must find a way of unraveling the world and making it again. Heraclitus, I believe, said that geography is fate. That, then, is what tethers us to the world. The rest is pulling on that tether.”
Phillips is the author of The Ground: Poems (2012) as well as the critical volume When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness (2010). He translated Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth (2012). Phillips received a 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award and has also received the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry. A contributing writer at Artforum, he has taught at Columbia University and at SUNY-Stony Brook, where he’s served as director of the Poetry Center. Phillips lives in New York and Barcelona.
Discover this author’s context, related articles, and media.
Articles About ROWAN RICARDO PHILLIPS
If you disagree with this poet's categorization, make a suggestion.