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Xandria Phillips, Poetry


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Xandria Phillips. Photo: Beowulf Sheehan.

Xandria Phillips is a poet and visual artist from rural Ohio. The recipient of the Judith A. Markowitz Award for emerging writers, Xandria has received fellowships from Oberlin College, Cave Canem, Callaloo, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and the Brown University Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America, where they are researching and composing a book of poems and paintings that explore Black feeling and materiality. Their poetry has been published in American Poetry Review, Poets.org, Black Warrior Review, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. Their chapbook Reasons for Smoking won the 2016 Seattle Review Chapbook Contest judged by Claudia Rankine. Hull, the recipient of a Lambda Literary Award, is their first book. They are working on a nonfiction manuscript titled Presenting as Blue/Aspiring to Green, about color theory, gender, and modes of making.

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Two poems from HULL:

“Elmina Castle”

at first only the rivers and I wept
for you in your journey, like the waters’
from tropical interiors, to the estuary
slap of the ocean’s cupped hands

and then your absence became religion
as easily as creating meaning from loss of limb,
you fell into crates that rustled from within
to the tune of the wind’s phantom chorale

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“Sex Dream in the Key of Aporia”

I half-wake in sudor, queer vernacular forgotten in the sinew of sleep.
Wetted by a man whose saunter turns

………………………………………………………..my breed diaphanous,

I fasten myself to his shared anatomies while he ascribes me
to the shades of children we’d make.

………………………………………………………..Sex, my choice

 

harness for affection, I falter before unreining curiosity.
Trans time and space,

………………………………………………………..I follow the russet roads inside

 

myself, Accra lanced into my neural system still. My intra-continent sweats
through shirts, and drinks stout,

………………………………………………………..though it tastes of displacement.

 

I still have a penchant for what misconstrued me, to live among kin in exclusion.
Awake, I don’t conflate touch with knowledge,

………………………………………………………..so my projected selves approach

 

the helm as nimbus parts me. Their mission is simple.
I buck their tether

………………………………………………………..They tighten its hold.

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Michael Neff
Algonkian Producer
New York Pitch Director
Author, Development Exec, Editor

We are the makers of novels, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

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