Pale Colors in a Tall Field Poems, by Carl Philips
A powerful, inventive collection from one of America’s most critically acclaimed poets.
Carl Phillips’s new poetry collection, Pale Colors in a Tall Field, is a meditation on the intimacies of thought and body as forms of resistance. The poems are both timeless and timely, asking how we can ever truly know ourselves in the face of our own remembering and inevitable forgetting. Here, the poems metaphorically argue that memory is made up of various colors, with those most prominent moments in a life seeming more vivid, though the paler colors are never truly forgotten. The poems in Pale Colors in a Tall Field approach their points of view kaleidoscopically, enacting the self’s multiplicity and the difficult shifts required as our lives, in turn, shift. This is one of Phillips’s most tender, dynamic, and startling books yet.
"These poems, which are filled with longing and a sense of the poet wrestling with himself, are made up of reflections . . . While Phillips is enigmatic in these poems, he is never coy, conjuring a rich intellectual and felt life on the page for the reader." ―Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"I have never heard a bad word about poet Carl Phillips, whose next collection considers the intersections of memory, colors, and forgetfulness. If we imagined our recollections as colors, what hues would they have? Which parts of ourselves would appear vividly, and which parts dim? Phillips has the ability to be both enigmatic and reassuring in his work, always going past where you think the poem aims to go, and achieving something greater . . ." ―Aaron Robertson, Lit Hub
"Few poets can deliver such weight with such precision as Phillips, who again marvels in this new collection . . . Phillips is the type of writer to make us believe that, perhaps, poetry truly is the form in which story and song best breathe together." ―Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
"I read each of Carl Phillips’s books for the deepest pleasures poetry can provide ― intelligence, linguistic chops, mystery. I also read them as primers, field guides, breviaries: as translations of personhood, in all our flawed and searching complexity." ―Lisa Russ Spaar, On the Seawall
Carl Phillips teaches at Washington University in St. Louis. His recent books include Wild Is the Wind and the prose collection The Art of Daring: Risk, Restlessness, Imagination.
Hardcover Published March 3, 2020