Quiver of Arrows: Selected Poems, 1986-2006

Overview

Quiver of Arrows is a generous gathering from Carl Phillips's work that showcases the twenty-year evolution of one of America's most distinctive--and one of poetry's most essential--contemporary voices. Hailed from the beginning of his career for a poetry provocative in its candor, uncompromising in its inquiry, and at once rigorous and innovative in its attention to craft, Phillips has in the course of eight critically acclaimed collections generated a sustained meditation on the restless and ever-shifting myth ...

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Overview

Quiver of Arrows is a generous gathering from Carl Phillips's work that showcases the twenty-year evolution of one of America's most distinctive--and one of poetry's most essential--contemporary voices. Hailed from the beginning of his career for a poetry provocative in its candor, uncompromising in its inquiry, and at once rigorous and innovative in its attention to craft, Phillips has in the course of eight critically acclaimed collections generated a sustained meditation on the restless and ever-shifting myth of human identity. Desire and loss, mastery and subjugation, belief and doubt, sex, animal instinct, human reason: these are among the lenses through which Phillips examines what it means to be that most bewildering, irresolvable conundrum, a human being in the world.

Phillips's sensibility as he questions morality, psychology, and our notions of responsibility is as startlingly original as the poems themselves, whose exacting standards for the line's flexibility and whose argument for a versatile, more muscular syntax bring to American poetry "something not unlike a new musical scale" (The Miami Herald). Quiver of Arrows is the record of a powerful vision that, in its illumination of the human condition, has established itself as a necessary step toward our understanding of who we are in the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Carl Phillips:

"Singing the music of mythology, history and philosophy, [Phillips's] poems are delicately crafted to sound like common speech even though there is nothing pedestrian about them. Because of their dexterity, they are approachable without sacrificing their loftier aspirations." --Dionisio Martinez, The Miami Herald

Praise for Riding Westward:

"The poems in Riding Westward ring like peals of a bell--recognizable, separate and yet merging together, radiating from a single source . . . Again Phillips strikes the theme of radiating realities, this time working inward from the largest darkness of all, which is implied, to the darkness of night, to the smaller darkness of one person's remembered life. The cowboy's song--as all the poems in Riding Westward--is a comforting lament." -Aaron Belz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"This is a tidal collection with poems that are wavelike in their formation, breaking and falling abruptly or gently rinsing the shore, all in a dance of creation and erasure . . . Riding Westward offers an expansion of mind that can only be compared to riding out into the boundary-less field of vision our Western plains offer." -Janet St. John, Booklist

Publishers Weekly

Phillips is a scholar and translator of classical Greek and a writer of syntactically complex, desire-drenched love poems that subtly, and beautifully, reinvent classical tropes and forms. Phillips has published eight books of his own poetry: this selection pares down a rapidly expanding oeuvre to its sharp essentials. Phillips's first three books, published by Graywolf, show him working out his relation to the tradition-from "the Famous Black Poet" to Yeats ("I recognized/ something more/ than swan" to Sappho ("My tongue still remembers")-and to AIDS and its aftermath: "I watched as each boat fell to flame:/ Vincentand Matthewand, last, what bore your name." Pastoral(2000) finds Phillips confidently making the tercet into a representation of the lover's body, a practice that has culminated in four subsequent books rapidly published in the '00s-including The Tether and The Rest of Love-that contain extraordinary and strange examples of Phillips's trademark writing about the bonds and bounds of sex and couplehood: "-Singing inside the mirror,/ to no one, to// itself, the body folding, and/ unfolding, as if map/ then shroud, its song." (May)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374530785
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 5/28/2007
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,426,651
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Carl Phillips is the author of eight previous books of poems, including The Rest of Love, a National Book Award finalist; Rock Harbor; and The Tether, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

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