Born and raised in New York City, Rowan Ricardo Phillips is a poet, essayist, critic, sportswriter, and translator. His poetry and writing have appeared in the New Yorker, the Paris Review, Poetry, the New York Times, the New Republic, and Artforum International, among others.
He is the author of two books of poetry, The Ground and Heaven; the acclaimed collection of literary essays When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness; and, most recently, the genre-defying account of the 2017 tennis season, The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey. He is also the translator of Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth and other works from Catalan, Spanish, and Italian. Phillips’s next book of poems, Living Weapon, will be published in February.
Phillips is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Whiting Award, PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award, Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing. He has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, NAACP Image Award, PEN Open Book Award, National Book Award, and the Griffin Poetry Prize. 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.
He 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 is currently writing a novel about rock ‘n’ roll and the screenplay to Clemente, the forthcoming feature film from Legendary Pictures about baseball icon Roberto Clemente. He divides his time between New York City and Barcelona.
Living Weapon (2020)
The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey (2018)
The Ground (2012)
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Rowan Ricardo Phillips’s website
Q&A with Phillips in Farrar, Straus and Giroux’s Work in Progress
“Vall de Núria,” Phillips’s poem featured in the New York Times Magazine, May 6, 2016
“The Poet as Translator and Translator as Poet,” Words without Borders, April 25, 2016
Video: Phillips reads from Heaven