The Award-winning poet Carl Phillips grapples with issues of authority, identity, and beauty in these sensual and deeply intelligent essays
Coin of the Realm
Essays on the Art and Life of Poetry
- “Passionate in its quest for the quintessentially human, doggedly resolute in its admiration for honesty, this collection reveals Phillips’ deftness as a critic.”—Black Issues Book Review
The "coin of the realm" is, classically, the currency that for any culture most holds value. In art, as in life, the poet Carl Phillips argues, that currency includes beauty, risk, and authority-values of meaning and complexity that all too often go disregarded. Together, these essays become an invaluable statement for the necessary-and necessarily difficult-work of the imagination and the will, even when, as Phillips states in his title essay, "the last thing that most human beings seem capable of trusting naturally-instinctively-is themselves, their own judgment."
- "Whether he is discussing the book of Psalms or the ever-emerging genre of the prose poem, Phillips makes contemporary readers feel the value of interrogating the various poetric concerns those works bring to the table."—Mid-American Review
- “Phillips has such keen and original ideas, and such strong convictions, that his sentences never seem to lose their declarative momentum.”—Bostonia