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Boy (The VQR Poetry Series)
This follow-up to Patrick Phillips's award-winning debut navigates the course of the male experience, and particularly young fatherhood. Like Virgil's Aeneas, the book's central figure is in the middle time of life, a grown man with an aging father on his shoulders and a young son at his hand. Phillips's plainspoken and moving lyrics add an important voice to the poetry of...more
Paperback, 72 pages
Published March 15th 2008 by University of Georgia Press
(first published March 1st 2008)
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VQR Series claimer, and disclaimer. This is the book Chattahoochee (Phillips' earlier and already mature book) grew up to be...there's an epigraph from Francis Bacon that haunts both titles: "He that hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune." The book stares down the mortal possibilities of all familial interaction and chooses (bravely) doomed and honest love over the safer alternatives. A tight, tight book.
I heard Phillips' poem "Falling" a year or so ago on NPR's "Writer's Almanac" as I was driving to school. I remember being completely blown away by the last line, and as soon as I got to my classroom I looked the poem up online and read it several more times. I still really like that particular poem, but there are many others in this collection that I enjoyed just as much, if not more: "Piano," "Matinee," "At the End of the All-Night Drive," and "A History of Twilight."
"Boy" is the first full book of poetry I've read in a fair while, and a fantastic, bitter-beautiful reintroduction to the of the fact/fiction/autobiographical world of poems. A fascinating peek into a man's view of himself and family through the lens of fatherhood. And, of course, there's the gorgeous, provocative cover. I highly recommend this book.