Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize
A powerful, inventive collection from one of America's most critically admired poets
“What has restlessness been for?”
In Wild Is the Wind, Carl Phillips reflects on love as depicted in the jazz standard for which the book is named—love at once restless, reckless, and yet desired for its potential to bring stability. In the process, he pitches estrangement against communion, examines the past as history versus the past as memory, and reflects on the past’s capacity both to teach and to mislead us—also to make us hesitate in the face of love, given the loss and damage that are, often enough, love’s fallout. How “to say no to despair”? How to take perhaps that greatest risk, the risk of believing in what offers no guarantee? These poems that, in their wedding of the philosophical, meditative, and lyric modes, mark a new stage in Phillips’s remarkable work, stand as further proof that “if Carl Phillips had not come onto the scene, we would have needed to invent him. His idiosyncratic style, his innovative method, and his unique voice are essential steps in the evolution of the craft” (Judith Kitchen, The Georgia Review).
"[Wild is the Wind is] as haunting and contemplative as the torch song for which the collection is named . . . [Phillips] startles readers afresh with his talent for transcendent metaphor leavened by rueful humor . . . Skillfully balancing philosophical discourse and linguistic pleasure, Phillips’s much-admired capacity for nimble syntax unfurls like a sail, 'each time, more surely.'" —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Trying to write about this collection is a completely hopeless exercise . . . Everything I want to say about it sounds at least a little unhinged, as in: having read it, I can’t imagine not having read it; a copy of it never lasts long with me before I give it away to someone I love; it offers moments of clarity that I’ve never found anywhere else. So many of us have a book for which this is the case, and often—unsurprisingly often—this book was written by Carl Phillips."—Corinne Segal, Lit Hub