Carl Phillips, professor of English and African & African American Studies, both in Arts & Sciences, has won two prestigious poetry awards — The Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Male Poetry — for his recent collection The Rest of Love: Poems (2004).
The Roethke Prize is awarded triennially by the Theodore Roethke Memorial Foundation of Saginaw, Mich., for the best book of poetry published in the preceding three years. Named for Theodore Roethke (1908-1963), a Saginaw-born poet who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1953, the award was launched in 1968 and first won by another Washington University poet, Howard Nemerov.
Phillips was picked for the honor by a three-judge panel appointed by U.S. poet laureate Ted Kooser.
Lead judge David Baker, poetry editor for The Kenyon Review, told The Saginaw News that, “Phillips is a brilliant middle-career poet, already the author of seven books of poems, a book of critical essays and a number of translations from the Latin. We feel he possesses the potential for lasting greatness that very few ever possess.”
Phillips will accept the prize, along with a $3,000 stipend, during an awards banquet Nov. 3 at Saginaw Valley State University.
The Thom Gunn Award is awarded annually by The Publishing Triangle, a national not-for-profit organization founded in 1988 to support books and other materials written by lesbian and gay authors or on lesbian and gay themes. An awards ceremony was held May 10 at The New School in New York City.