Rowan Ricardo Phillips’ first collection of poetry, “The Ground”, came out in 2012 — more than a decade after he started seriously writing.
In his experience as a professor, Phillips said he saw lots of students in a rush to get published, as if it was the end-all be-all of writing.
Since the release of “The Ground”, Phillips has received lots of critical acclaim, and has also been the recipient of a few awards. His 2015 follow-up, “Heaven” was NPR’s book of the year.
Phillips said one of the hardest parts of poetry is effectively explaining an abstract emotion or moment. He cited having a meal with someone you love as an example.
“I find that it’s really useful to walk away and come back an hour later … and see if what you had still holds up,” Phillips said. “That’s really the challenge because, in the moment, you’re really just an audience to yourself. The applause is already there.”
Phillips spent part of the early winter in Woody Creek as a writer in residence for Aspen Words. He wrote multiple poems during his stay. Some pieces include moments about alpenglow and elk.
Phillips will be speaking next week as part of Aspen Words’ Summer Words series.