Lauded by The Literary Journal as “one-of-a-kind brilliant,” “Indecency,” a book of poetry by alum Justin Phillip Reed, MFA’ 15, won the 2018 National Book Award for Poetry. Reed uses experimental language to explore racial inequality, white supremacy and the dominant social order. But the work is as political as it is personal in its confrontation of masculinity and sexuality. “(Reed’s) poems take up the body in desire and violence, and they do so by thrusting the reader into a stark visceral encounter with their material,” wrote The New York Times about Reed’s work. According to The Millions, “Indecency made me stand up and applaud.”
Reed earned his MFA from Washington University in St. Louis in 2015 and since then has published two books, “Indecency” and the chapbook “A History of Flamboyance” (YesYes Books 2016). He also received fellowships from Cave Canem Foundation and the Conversation Literary Festival.