OVERRIDE

Riding Westward

Poems

Carl Phillips

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

What happens when the world as we've known it becomes divided, when the mind becomes less able--or less willing--to distinguish reality from what is desired? In Riding Westward, Carl Phillips wields his celebrated gifts for syntax and imagery that are unmistakably his own--speculative, athletic, immediate--as he confronts moral crisis. What is the difference, he asks, between good and evil, cruelty and instruction, risk and trust? Against the backdrop of the natural world, Phillips pitches the restlessness of what it means to be human, as he at once deepens and extends a meditation on that space where the forces of will and imagination collide with sexual and moral conduct.

BOOK EXCERPTS

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Erasure

Brindled, where what’s left of the light finds him, he cowers in front of me: one way, as I remember it, that a body having grown accustomed to receiving punishment expresses

receipt, or a readiness for it, or—wild, bewildered—the desire to.

Above us, the usual branches lift unprophetically or not, depending: now spears; now arrows. There’s a kind of tenderness that makes more tender

all it touches. There’s a need that ruins. Dark. The horse comes closer. A smell to him like that of the earth when it’s been too long dry, drought-long,

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REVIEWS

Praise for Riding Westward

“A master stylist . . . While Phillips’s ideas are complex . . .His images ground
us. ”Library Journal
 
“The poems in Riding Westward ring like peals of a bell—recognizable, separate and yet merging together, radiating from a single source . . . Again Phillips strikes the theme of radiating realities, this time working inward from the largest darkness of all, which is implied, to the darkness of night, to the smaller darkness of one person’s remembered life. The cowboy’s song—as all the poems in Riding Westward—is a comforting lament.”—Aaron Belz, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Carl Phillips

  • Carl Phillips is the author of eight previous books of poems, including The Rest of Love, a National Book Award finalist; Rock Harbor; and The Tether, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.
  • Carl Phillips Doug Macomber
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Riding Westward

Poems

Carl Phillips

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

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