Patrick Philips was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He earned a BA from Tufts University, an MFA from the University of Maryland, and a PhD in English Renaissance literature from New York University. He is the author of the poetry collections Chattahoochee (2004), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, Boy (2008), and Elegy for a Broken Machine (2015), a finalist for the National Book Award. Through his poems, Philips frequently tells stories of earlier generations of his white, working-class family’s life in Birmingham, Alabama; in his work, he also grapples with race relations, the complex and violent dynamics of family relationships, and parenthood. In an interview for storySouth, Philips noted that he has found working in traditional poetic forms to be “generative” while acknowledging a poem’s need for both narrative and song.
His honors include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Copenhagen. He won the American-Scandinavian Foundation’s translation prize for his translations of the work of Danish poet Henrik Nordbrandt.