cover image Scattered Snows, to the North

Scattered Snows, to the North

Carl Phillips. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $26 (80p) ISBN 978-0-374-61241-2

Phillips (Then the War) brings an increased awareness to endings in this elegant collection. “It’s hard/ to believe in them,/ the beautiful colors/ of extinction,” he writes in “Regime.” Phillips has long been an exquisite navigator of the long sentence, and this capacity for meditation on the page is on full display, as is his flair for rendering thought through controlled syntax: “whereupon they began arguing, about language first,/ then about precision: resistance is only technically/ the same thing as hope.” Dancing between beauty and catastrophe, he evokes desire and longing in the face of forces that threaten routine and survival: “Isn’t every season,/ no matter what we call it, shadow season?” These poems strike poignant and enduring notes, suffused in “the split fruit of late fall,” which “wears best when worn quietly.” This is another poised addition to Phillips’s dazzling body of work. (Aug.)