From New York City subway encounters to memories of pickup basketball games on Fourth Street, a love letter to the past, and to all the relationships and memories our homeplaces hold, from the National Book Award finalist.
“I will consider a slice of pizza," opens Phillips's poem "Jubilate Civitas." "For rare among pleasures in Gotham, it is both / exquisite and blessedly cheap." Thus, as throughout this collection, he celebrates a simple pleasure that "in a time of deceit . . . is honest and upright, steadfast and good"; even the busted buttons we press when waiting to cross the street make for elegy in a collection that brings us this poet at his burnished best.
Phillips finds his love of a complex, vibrant city extends to his dearest people—he writes for his friend Paul, dying of cancer; for his wife’s stormy eyes when they fight; for the baby boy he once woke at night to feed and change. All these and more pass through Phillips's elegant yet colloquial lines, in a book that shines with love and honesty on every page. As he writes, "If you're reading this / we were once friends."
PATRICK PHILLIPS is the author of three previous books of poems, including Chattahoochee, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Elegy for a Broken Machine, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America, a work of nonfiction, was a New York Times Notable book. Among Phillips's other honors are Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also translator of When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt. Phillips lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Stanford University.