About this book
From the author of Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America and the National Book Award finalist Elegy for a Broken Machine: Poems, here is the first collection from award-winning poet Patrick Phillips.
A river runs through Patrick Phillips’s collection Chattahoochee, and through a family saga as powerful and poignant as the landscape in which it unfolds. Here are tales of a vanished South, elegies for the lost, and glimpses of what Flannery O’Connor called the “action of grace in territory held largely by the devil.” In language delicate and muscular, tender and raw-boned, Phillips writes of family, place, and that mythic conjunction of the two we call home.
“The ‘intensity in the seeing’ that Theodore Roethke believed good poetry possessed is everywhere present in Patrick Phillips’s clear-eyed debut collection, Chattahoochee. The world Phillips evokes is a half-paradise of childhood innocence half-lost to the earthly imperfection of adult experience. It is a world illuminated by bright and dark fire, a world where awe and wonder find a voice, and where memory leads—by story, metaphor, and music—to the ‘oldest room in the house’ where, Phillips tells us, ‘the world began.’”
—Michael Collier, author of The Ledge
“The poems in Chattahoochee have clearly taken to heart W. C. Williams’s dictum that contact with the local is the only road to the universal and is finally the true measure of a work of art. Patrick Phillips’s depiction of the small town Georgia community in which he was raised is by turns harrowing and tender, full of communal warmth and racial hatred, family intimacy and social justice. That he doesn’t simplify his vision of the Southern world that formed him, that he honors his own ambivalence, is a measure of Phillips’s humane inclusive vision, an inclusiveness that keeps his keen sense of place from becoming mere regionalism; it’s what enables him to find a social and political history within the particulars of personal experience. This is an unforgettable first book.”
—Alan Shapiro, author of Song and Dance: Poems
About the author
Patrick Phillips has won a “Discovery” / The Nation Award from the Unterberg Poetry Center of the 92nd Street Y, a Gulf Coast Poetry Prize, and was a finalist for the National Poetry Series. His poems have appeared in Poetry, the New England Review, Agni, the Gettysburg Review, The Nation, Rivendell, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. A past Fulbright Fellow, he has held fellowships at the MacDowell and Millay colonies. He is currently a Henry Mitchell MacCracken Fellow at New York University. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two children.
Winner of the 2005 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. The award is presented annually for a first book by a poet of genuine promise.