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Cortège: Poems Paperback – March 25, 2002
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
“Carl Phillips is a poet of eros, but for him eros isn't simply sex, or even sexual desire sublimated into social ritual, or art, or any of the overdetermined ploys by which all of us, men and women, heterosexual and homosexual, attempt to close the distance between ourselves and others. Rather, eros is the never ending struggle, as he puts it, 'to fill a space in so there's no room left for awhile for what he surely calls a suffering inside him.' In the intricacies of thinking and feeling enacted in every poem of Cortège, no feeling ever quite escapes its opposite--the joy of fulfilled desire is infused with the isolation it has momentarily eclipsed, the heaven of intimacy only heightens 'how it feels to be stranded.' Cortège is a book that has been packed in salt: the durable salt of artistic making, and the bitter salt of longing. Few other poets writing today can track so well, so unforgettably, the estranging spaces in the heart of love, the perils of beauty or the beauty of peril.” ―Alan Shapiro
“Out so much farther than our present pieties, attentive to no social or sentimental voice, only passion's (so often ruinous, defiant of upshot), it is not in every case, every poem, that Carl Phillips triumphs over my timidity. As with Sappho and Pasolini, though, traces of the winged god are everywhere unmistakable, even when this new poet has kicked them over: it is a sacred entail his harsh graces make. I for one am an awed (if lacerated) heir.” ―Richard Howard