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Phillip B Williams

Years: 2008, 2009, 2011


Phillip B. Williams is a Chicago, Illinois native. He is the author of the chapbooks Bruised Gospels (Arts in Bloom Inc. 2011) and Burn (YesYes Books, 2012). He is a Cave Canem graduate and received a Bread Loaf work-study scholarship in 2011 and Social staff scholarship in 2012. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, The Southern Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Sou’wester, West Branch, Blackbird and others. Phillip is currently a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at the Washington University in St. Louis and is working on his MFA in Creative Writing. He is the poetry editor of the online journal Vinyl Poetry.


Excerpt from "In the Nothing that is Kept" from Chapbook BRUISED GOSPELS


The cross, attached to a silver chain, lies

across the nightstand like a man waiting

all night for his sentence: torture, but not

before acknowledging his restraints, looped

in a self-feeding clutch through his neck’s flesh.

That the chain glistens, appears to writhe, means

there is, somewhere, a source of light and men

watching the prostrate prisoner—naked

as he requested—open his thin arms

to let light touch, to further fasten him.

Say you dust bare his skin. Say there’s a song

to sing, that he sings it. Your lips to him

lift like a storm from land. Now he appears

more like faith, its absence risen, made clear.