One of The Washington Post's Best Poetry Collections of 2015One of NPR's Best Books of 2015One of Flavorwire's Best Poetry Books of 2015Long-listed for the National Book Award in poetryLong-listed for the 2016 PEN Open Book Award Who the hell's heaven is this? Rowan Ricardo Phillips offers many answers, and ne at all, in Heaven, the piercing and revelatory encore to his award-winning debut, The Ground. Swerving elegantly from humor to heartbreak, from Colorado to Florida, from Dante's Paradise to Homer's Iliad, from kwledge to igrance to awe, Phillips turns his gaze upward and outward, probing and upending tions of the beyond. Feeling, real feeling / with all its faulty / Architecture, is / Beyond a god's touch --but it does t elude Phillips. Meditating on feverish boyhood, on two paintings by Chuck Close, on Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, on a dead rooster by the side of the road in Ohio, on an elk grazing outside his window, his language remains eternally intoxicating, full of play, pathos, and surprise. The end, he writes, like / All I've ever told you, is uncertain. Or, elsewhere: The only way then to kw a truth / Is to squint in its direction and poke. Phillips--who received a 2013 Whiting Writers' Award as well as the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award--may t be certain, but as he squints and pokes in the direction of truth, his power of perception and elegance of expression create a place where beauty and truth come together and drift apart like a planet orbiting its star. The result is a book whose lush and wounding beauty will leave its mark on readers long after they've turned the last page.
Rowan Ricardo Phillips, the winner of a Whiting Writers' Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award, and the GLCA New Writers Award for Poetry, is the author of The Ground (FSG, 2012). He lives in New York City and Barcelona.