"This gorgeous debut is a 'debut' in chronology only. . . . Need is everywhere—in the unforgiving images, in lines so delicate they seem to break apart in the hands, and in the reader who will enter these poems and never want to leave."—Adrian Matejka
Phillip B. Williams investigates the dangers of desire, balancing narratives of addiction, murders, and hate crimes with passionate, uncompromising depth. Formal poems entrenched in urban landscapes crack open dialogues of racism and homophobia rampant in our culture. Multitudinous voices explore one's ability to harm and be harmed, which uniquely juxtaposes the capacity to revel in both experiences.
While two women kissed in their house I watched
a jury hide bullets in a Black boy's body, all rigor mortis
and bass line. I landed in Chicago, a lead box.
The airport showed CNN and a Black mother
could not be heard over gate changes, bistro jazz.
Subtitles gathered and faded like gossip
while I made my mouth vacant in my hometown.
I carried a fever of insufferable noise that skin,
illuminated by a hoodie, held close, a forced kin.
Phillip B. Williams has authored two chapbooks: Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc.) and Burn (YesYes Books). A Cave Canem graduate, he received scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship. His work appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Poetry, the Southern Review, West Branch , and others. Phillip received his MFA in Writing as a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis. He is the poetry editor of Vinyl Poetry.