The fourth and final installment of the Fall reading series sponsored by the American Book Review, features poet Robert Phillips at the University of Houston-Victoria in the Alcorn Auditorium Thursday, Nov. 15, from noon to 1:30 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Phillips, since 1998 a John and Rebecca Moore Scholar at the University of Houston, is the author or editor of some 30 volumes of poetry, fiction, criticism, and belles lettres and publishes in numerous journals. A professor of English, he was director of the Creative Writing Program from 1991 to 1996, a position for which he was lured to Houston from a highly successful advertising career in New York, by the founder of the program and renowned short story writer, Donald Barthelme.
Phillip's numerous honors include a Pushcart Prize, an American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, a New York State Council on the Arts CAPS Grant in Poetry, MacDowell Colony and Yaddo Fellowships, a National Public Radio Syndicated Fiction Project Award, a Syracuse University Arents Pioneer Medal, and Texas Institute of Letters membership. His most recent work, the poetry collection "Circumstances Beyond Our Control," published by The Johns Hopkins University Press, was nominated for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize.
Other recent works by Phillips include the 2003 poetry collection "Spinach Days" (Johns Hopkins University Press), the 2003 anthology "The Madness of Art: Interviews With Poets and Writers" (Syracuse University Press) and the 2001 short story collection "News About People You Know" (Texas Review Press).
As with most literary artists, Phillips has quietly plied his trade in relative obscurity. Yet his talent is well known by academic specialists throughout the country. In a retrospective analysis of Phillip's poetry, fellow poet X. J. Kennedy said, "Robert Phillips is about the only living U.S. poet who never bores me."
One of America's most highly respected writers, Cynthia Ozick said, "Robert Phillips is an important American poet. He expresses and incarnates the sensibility of our time; when I read him I experience, eerily, what I did not know I knew until his poem revealed it."
And no less of an authority than James Dickey testified to Phillip's talent during the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Literature ceremony, "Robert Phillips' attitude is that of the sensitive and isolated modern whose defenses—and resources—are observational quirkiness, tolerance, and rueful intelligence. His work is engagingly open and accessible, his subjects painstakingly explored."
Phillips' talk will address how poetry can survive in these times of information overload and how he fashioned a rewarding new career in academia after successful stints in public relations and advertising. Phillips will also address a poetry workshop at St. Joseph High School and evaluate previously submitted work by the students.
"It's a pleasure to be able to share with students and the community the formidable poetic talents of Robert Phillips," ABR Publisher and UHV Dean of Arts & Sciences, Jeffrey Di Leo said. "He is one of those rare poets who is able to inspire a passion for his art in others. I look forward to his presentation."
"We're delighted to have one of the UH System's most highly respected writer/scholars visiting our campus," said President Tim Hudson. "Professor Phillip's dedication to the literary arts, both as a mentor to scores of young writers and as an award-winning poet, is an inspiration to us all."
The American Book Review is an internationally-distributed literary journal with a circulation of about 8,000 copies. In October, ABR consolidated all of its print and on-line operations at UHV. Past speakers for the ABR Reading Series have included Graciela Limón, Justin Cronin, Angela Ball, Raymond Federman, Andrei Codrescu, Chitra Divakaruni, Dagoberto Gilb and R. M. Berry.
For a complete list of series speakers and their biographies please visit the ABR website at http://americanbookreview.org.
For more information on Robert Phillips, or the UHV/ABR Reading Series, contact ABR Managing Editor Charles Alcorn at (361) 570-4100.