Rowan Ricardo Phillips

1974 –

Born in New York City in 1974, Rowan Ricardo Phillips earned his BA at Swarthmore College and his PhD at Brown University.

Phillips is the author of seven books of poetry, prose, and translation. His poetry collections are Silver (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2024); Heaven (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015), which was long-listed for the National Book Award; and The Ground (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), for which he received the 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry and the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award. Phillips is also the author of a book of literary criticism, When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness (Dalkey Archive Press, 2010), and a translation of Catalan poet Salvador Espriu’s Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth (Dalkey Archive Press, 2012).

Phillips’s other honors include the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, the PEN/ESPN Award for Literary Sports Writing, and the Nicolás Guillén Outstanding Book Award. In 2013, he received a Whiting Writers’ Award and, two years later, a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship.

In her review of Phillips’s debut collection, Evie Shockley writes,

The poems in The Ground carry the authoritative descriptions and rhythms of [Derek] Walcott, the philosophical and symbolic flights of [Wallace] Stevens, the subtle humor and cosmopolitanism of [Rita] Dove, but in a language whose musical blend of the contemporary and the timeless is all Phillips’s own. These poems assert cycles—they repeat, recur, and return—but where we end up is not where we started. 

Phillips has taught at Columbia University, Harvard University, Princeton University, and Cornell University. He has also served as a distinguished professor of English at Stony Brook University and the poetry editor of The New Republic. In 2023, he was named editor of the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets. 

Phillips divides his time between New York City and Barcelona, Spain.