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Conversation with Xandria Phillips

Jan 15, 2020 - Jan 15, 2020 | 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
City of Asylum @ Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

Xandria will present on compiling research and its creative application in their first book, HULL, and through their present and projected work in both literary and visual form. Xandria is a short-term City of Asylum resident, staying in partnership with the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics and August Wilson House. During their time in residency, Xandria will be using artist studio space at Radiant Hall in the Northside.

Xandria Phillips is a poet and visual artist from rural Ohio. Xandria has received fellowships from Oberlin College, Cave Canem, Callaloo, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, where they are the First Wave Poetry Fellow. Their poetry has been featured in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, Poets.Org, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. Their first book, HULL was published by Nightboat Books in 2019.

On HULL: In this debut collection by African American poet Xandria Phillips, HULL explores emotional impacts of colonialism and racism on the Black queer body and the present-day emotional impacts of enslavement in urban, rural, and international settings. HULL is lyrical, layered, history-ridden, experimental, textured, adorned, ecstatic, and emotionally investigative.

Praise for HULL:
“Let’s deflate something that we can all agree is / monstrous, and take its air inside us,’” writes Xandria Phillips in ‘Elegy for the Living and Breathing.’ A decolonization of space and self is made physical in this stunning, textured, and ambitious collection of poems. This work positions snapshots of contemporary black, queer selfhood against an embodied historical backdrop in order to trace the tolls and infringements of white dominant structures and embedded historical violence upon the body. When I read it, I am reminded of the ways in which language can be repurposed as an amplification device against narratives that seek to erase, bury, and diminish. The poems in Reasons for Smoking articulate how living, touching, noticing, speaking, and remembering are necessary and subversive acts.” -Claudia Rankine

“With its queerness and excavation of history, Xandria Phillips’ HULL lives somewhere between Danez Smith’s Don’t Call Us Dead and Rachel McKibbens’s Blud; the result is bodily, razor-sharp, and wholly unforgettable. I didn’t know how badly I needed these poems until they were unfurling in my hands, devastating and brilliant.” -Carmen Maria Machado

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