Alice James Books, 2016
With Thief in the Interior Phillip B. Williams investigates the dangers of desire, balancing narratives of addiction, murders, and hate crimes with passionate, uncompromising depth. Formal poems entrenched in urban landscapes crack open dialogues of racism and homophobia rampant in our culture. Multitudinous voices explore one's ability to harm and be harmed, which uniquely juxtaposes the capacity to revel in both experiences.
To experience [Phillip B. William’s] poetry is to encounter a lucid, unmitigated humanity, a voice for whom language is inadequate, yet necessarily grasped, shaped, and consumed. His devout and excruciating attention to the line and its indispensable music fuses his implacable understanding of words with their own shadows.
—Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Boston Review
This gorgeous debut is a ‘debut’ in chronology only, a rare poetic event that transcends our expectations. Williams’s poems embody balance: uncompromising and magnetic, surprising and intuitive. Need is everywhere—in the unforgiving images, in lines so delicate they seem to break apart in the hands, and in the reader who will enter these poems and never want to leave.
—Adrian Matejka, author of The Big Smoke
Not just more of the artfully skill-less, conceptual talk of a poem, this is what you’ve been waiting for: some poetry. Not just skill as possession, as a commodity, but skill to accomplish the expressive event, a deeply felt poetic argument. For example Williams’ line is no arbitrary unit of type, but an effective musically syntactic accomplishment of line. Poetry!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Phillip B. Williams has authored two chapbooks: Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc.) and Burn (YesYes Books). A Cave Canem graduate, he received scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers Conference and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship. His work appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Poetry, the Southern Review, West Branch, and others. Phillip received his MFA in Writing as a Chancellor's Graduate Fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis. He is the poetry editor of Vinyl Poetry.