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Living Weapon

Living Weapon

by Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Living Weapon

Living Weapon

by Rowan Ricardo Phillips


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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).

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374191993
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 02/18/2020
Pages: 96
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of the books of poems Heaven (FSG, 2015) and The Ground (FSG, 2012), as well as the essay collections The Circuit and When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness. His many awards include a Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Osterweil Award, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, and the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award. He lives in New York City and Barcelona.

Table of Contents

The First Last Light in the Sky
Mortality Ode
Spiegel im Spiegel
The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet
Thoughts and Prayers
November Nocturne
Night of the Election
Obsolete Machinery
Who Is Less Than a Vapor?
Eppur si muove
Tradition and the Individual Talent
The Peacock
A Tale of Two Cities
Trinidadian Triptych
I. After a Lime on Ariapita Avenue
II. Hart and Abercromby Étude
III. Swimmers in the Caribbean on the Eve of a Referendum
Death and the City
Crisis on Infinite Earths
Nude Figure
The Testament of Orpheus
Purple Elegy
Even Homer Nods
Love Song
The Golden Hour
The Köln Concert
Étude on Man
The King of Things
The Question
Dark Matter Ode


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