From New York City subway encounters to memories of pickup basketball games on Fourth Street, a love letter to the past, and to all the relationships and memories our homeplaces hold, from the National Book Award finalist.
“I will consider a slice of pizza," opens Phillips's poem "Jubilate Civitas." "For rare among pleasures in Gotham, it is both / exquisite and blessedly cheap." Thus, as throughout this collection, he celebrates a simple pleasure that "in a time of deceit . . . is honest and upright, steadfast and good"; even the busted buttons we press when waiting to cross the street make for elegy in a collection that brings us this poet at his burnished best.
Phillips finds his love of a complex, vibrant city extends to his dearest people—he writes for his friend Paul, dying of cancer; for his wife’s stormy eyes when they fight; for the baby boy he once woke at night to feed and change. All these and more pass through Phillips's elegant yet colloquial lines, in a book that shines with love and honesty on every page. As he writes, "If you're reading this / we were once friends."
About the Author
PATRICK PHILLIPS is the author of three previous books of poems, including Chattahoochee, which won the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Elegy for a Broken Machine, which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Blood at the Root: A Racial Cleansing in America, a work of nonfiction, was a New York Times Notable book. Among Phillips's other honors are Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, a Pushcart Prize, and the Lyric Poetry Award from the Poetry Society of America. He is also translator of When We Leave Each Other: Selected Poems of Henrik Nordbrandt. Phillips lives in Brooklyn and teaches at Stanford University.
"Song of the Closing Doors reckons with love, loss, and the space between the two that we call life. It’s a deep comfort to rock next to Patrick Phillips in these poignant, sleek poems that travel through grief’s tunnels. Clear a space for these blues and warm yourself in their everlasting light." --Tomás Q. Morín, author of Machete
“These poems are so damn good. Few contemporary poets can write an elegy half as well as Phillips. And nobody does it any better.” —John Murillo, author of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry and Up Jump the Boogie