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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)

Isdoud (for Fady Joudah)

dear descendant
of the dis
appeared you ascend

the pillar
of your own air
spin & span

whole abysses
with lines
translating there

to here & here
to where
wind winds

in dry wadis
hoists sea
in handful

after invisible
handful
isdoud now

your e-mail address
& digital image
of branches

through windows
within school ruins
a refugee points

with his cane
to what he
only can see

you argue against
the argument
against your

self you
yourself make
& home in

kiss my blind
eyes clear
close keyholes

with opening
homeland you
cradle in vowels

what was not
never yours
I’ll hold it here

till you return

Copyright © 2019 Philip Metres. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, January/February 2019. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2019 Philip Metres. This poem originally appeared in Kenyon Review, January/February 2019. Used with permission of the author.

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

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

poem

With scissors & Samson, see. With columns,
see, see also. With gunpowder, my liege.

With rusted nail heads, see. With ball bearings,
see. With broken razors & razor wire, page. 

With darts, seized. & screws, see. & with shrapnel.
With pipe casings, seamed. C-4. See rage.

poem

In the green beginning,
     in the morning mist,
          they emerge from their chrysalis

of clothes: peel off purses & cells,
     slacks & Gap sweats, turtle-
          necks & tanks, Tommy’s & Salvation

Army, platforms & clogs,
     abandoning bras