Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a poet, essayist, critic, sportswriter, and translator born in New York City of Antiguan parents. His poetry and writing have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Poetry, the New Republic, and Artforum International, among others. “Like all good poets, he writes from a zone of his own creation, mixing the traditions of his West Indian ancestry with American poetry,” writes poet Henri Cole.
Phillips is the author of two books of poetry, The Ground and Heaven, as well as the acclaimed collection of literary essays When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness. He is the translator of Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth and other works from Catalan, Spanish, and Italian.
Of his debut collection, poet and critic Evie Shockley writes, “The ground … is constantly shifting, highly unstable. It is Ground Zero, Tribeca, Harlem, the West Indies, and Barcelona, among other places.”
Phillips is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. He has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and the NAACP Image Award and a finalist for the PEN Open Book Award and the National Book Award. Heaven was named one of NPR’s Best Books of 2015 and one of the Washington Post’s best new poetry collections. His poetry has been translated into Catalan, German, Italian, Norwegian, and Spanish.
Phillips earned his earned his bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College and his doctorate degree from Brown University. He has taught at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, and Stony Brook universities and is a fellow of the New York Institute for the Humanities at New York University. He divides his time between New York City and Barcelona.
Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth (2012)
The Ground (2012)
When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness (2010)
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Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s website
Phillips’s poem “Vall de Núria” featured in the New York Times Magazine
Q&A with Phillips in Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s Work in Progress
Phillips: “The Poet as Translator and Translator as Poet” in Words without Borders
Video: Phillips reads from Heaven