2011 National Book Award Finalist,

Carl Phillips

Double Shadow

Farrar, Straus and Giroux


Comparing any human life to “a restless choir” of impulses variously in conflict and at peace with one another, Carl Phillips, in his eleventh book, examines the double shadow that a life casts forth: “now risk, and now / faintheartedness.” In poems that both embody and inhabit this double shadow, risk and faintheartedness prove to have the power equally to rescue us from ourselves and to destroy us. Spare, haunted, and haunting, yet not without hope, Double Shadow argues for life as a wilderness through which there’s only the questing forward—with no regrets and no looking back.


Carl Phillips is the author of ten previous books of poems, three of which were Finalists for the National Book Award: Speak Low (2009), The Rest of Love (2004), and From the Devotions (1998). His other volumes include Rock Harbor (2002) and The Tether (2001), which was awarded the 2002 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Prize; Pastoral (2000); Cortège (1995), finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and In the Blood (1992). He has received numerous honors, including the Morse Poetry Prize, the Lambda Literary Award, the Pushcart Prize, an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Library of Congress. Phillips is professor of English at Washington University in St. Louis.


Phillips 2009 NBA Finalist page

Phillips 2009 interview with Craig Morgan Teicher

Author photo: Ray J. Althoff