poem index


Philip Metres

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Philip Metres

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


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)

by this poet


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


Wither me to within me:
Welt me to weal me common again:
Withdraw to wear me weary:
Over me to hover and lover again:

Before me to form and perform me:
Round me to rill me liquid incisions:
Behind me to hunt and haunt me:
Down me to drown indecision:

Bury me to


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.