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About this poet

Brian Phillip Whalen received a PhD from SUNY–Albany in 2015. His poems have appeared in Lake Effect, Mid-American Review, and North American Review. He lives in upstate New York.

How Will I Address Him When He's Dead

I call my father during halftime when the Irish are on TV. (Family history: my father called his father from a rotary phone screwed to the wall.) It’s good to hear my father’s voice, to have cellular access to familiar sounds: his admonishments, his praise and anger. (Memory of bedtime songs he’d sing on his guitar: I sing them to my daughter now—Phil Ochs’s “When I’m Gone” and Kenny Loggins’s “Danny’s Song.”) My grandfather, who lived in Indiana, named my father James. I rarely think about it, his having a name—my father, James.

Copyright © 2017 Brian Phillip Whalen. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017. 

Copyright © 2017 Brian Phillip Whalen. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Spring 2017. 

Brian Phillip Whalen

Brian Phillip Whalen received a PhD from SUNY–Albany in 2015. He lives in upstate New York.

by this poet

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for Erik

My friend, how many more occasions have we left in our steeply narrowing lives to brood over decisions like these? To write, to teach—to marry. It used to be we’d sit in bars until 3:00 am speculating cream versus half-and-half, debating French press versus good espresso with the