Rowan Ricardo Phillips Wins the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry

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Poet Rowan Ricardo Phillips had an enviable problem recently.  He won both the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry AND was also chosen as one of the winners of the Whiting Writers’ Award.  Ceremonies for both the awards were to take place on the same night.   Decisions, decisions….

Using some powers not bestowed on mere mortals and non-poets, Phillips managed to attend both fetes (although he was a little late for the Whiting).

The title of Phillips’ multiple-award winning work is The Ground.  

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Here is one of the poems from that collection:

 Mappa Mundi

These factories, their pipes’ smoke, plume like skunks,

Rise as one and few and many and all
And forty fireflies bound for JFK.

Forty more circle where here be dragons.
Nature is a lapse in city life.
Whether red birds sit and sing from rooftops

Or rappers cypher deep into the night,
The gun-in-your-mouth talk of a ransomed
God, nature is a lapse in city life.

The soft green ground that ends an avenue.
The red rust-spew stifling a drain.
Pigeon-dropped icicles. Nature is a lapse in city life.

Those kids on a New Deal rooftop
Staring at the wonders of Moses,
Who with a wave split the Bronx asunder

And dropped the Cross Bronx
Down in his wake,
May they know this map of the world

As only a map of the world.
One of many that will lead them
To and from their doors.


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