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About this poet

Philip Metres was born on July 4, 1970, in San Diego and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. In 1992, he graduated from Holy Cross College in Indiana and received his PhD in English and an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University in 2001.

Metres is the author of four poetry collections: Pictures at an Exhibition (University of Akron Press, 2016); Sand Opera (Alice James Books, 2015); A Concordance of Leaves (Diode Editions, 2013), winner of the 2014 Arab American Book Award; and To See the Earth (Cleveland State University Press, 2008). He has also translated the works of such Russian poets as Sergey Gandlevsky, Lev Rubinstein, and Arseny Tarkovsky.

Metres is the recipient of grants and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Ohio Arts Council, and Watson Foundation, as well as the Cleveland Arts Prize. He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio, where he lives.


Selected Bibliography

Poetry

Pictures at an Exhibition (University of Akron Press, 2016)
Sand Opera (Alice James Books, 2015)
A Concordance of Leaves (Diode Editions, 2013)
To See the Earth (Cleveland State University Press, 2008)

Hearing of Alia Muhammed Baker’s Stroke

How a Basra librarian
could haul the books each night,
load by load, into her car,

the war ticking like a clock
about to wake. Her small house
swimming in them. How, the British

now crossing the limits
of Basra, the neighbors struck
a chain to pass the bags of books

over the wall, into a restaurant,
until she could bring them all,
like sandbags, into her home,

some thirty thousand of them,
before the library, and her brain,
could finally flood into flame.

Copyright © 2014 by Philip Metres. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Copyright © 2014 by Philip Metres. Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Philip Metres

Philip Metres

Metres is the author of four poetry collections: Pictures at an Exhibition (University of Akron Press, 2016); Sand Opera (Alice James Books, 2015); A Concordance of Leaves (Diode Editions, 2013), winner of the 2014 Arab American Book Award; and To See the Earth (Cleveland State University Press, 2008).

by this poet

poem

each day I enter with open / papers & snake the coiled
wires & barbed cattle chute / Qalandia / & bunker sand

-bagged heads / to study the very ground / & watch oneself
being watched / a ticking watch / other’s hands handing over

to red-haired & fretting / Uzi itchy with

poem

your face translates
            for river and ever
translates your fate

sign her your sins
            and ever forgiver
sings she your sins

pay her your pay
            for debtors endeavor
to spit in the river

your sins will be
            and severed forever

poem

a young woman came in
speaking Arabic  I said are you Iraqi
she said I haven’t eaten  for three days
I said what do you mean  she said
I need to turn  turn myself in
this was a strange language to me
a different logic  Come and sit I said
food brought out  she ate  finally