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Phillip B. Williams

Born: 1986 in Chicago, Illinois
Pen Name: None

Connection to Illinois: Williams is a Chicago native. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana Champaign.

Biography: Phillip B. Williams is from Chicago, Illinois, and is the author of two collections of poetry: Thief in the Interior, which was the winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and a Lambda Literary Award, and Mutiny, which was a finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection and the winner of a 2022 American Book Award. Williams is also the recipient of a Whiting Award and fellowships from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the National Endowment for the Arts. He currently teaches in the MFA in creative writing program at New York University.

  • Thief in the Interior Finalist, NAACP Image Award, 2017; Kate Tufts Discovery Award, 2017; Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, 2017; Whiting Award for Poetry, 2017
  • MUTINY Winner of the 2022 American Book Award Finalist for the PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Longlisted for the PEN/Jean Stein Book Award Finalist for Publishing Triangle’s Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry Named one of the Best Books of 2021 by The Boston Globe and Lit Hub

Primary Literary Genre(s): Fiction; Poetry

Primary Audience(s): Adult readers


Selected Titles

Mutiny: Poems
ISBN: 0143136933 OCLC:

Penguin Books 2021

Mutiny: a rebellion, a subversion, an onslaught. In poems that rebuke classical mythos and western canonical figures, and embrace Afro-Diasporanfolk and spiritual imagery, Phillip B. Williams conjures the hell of being erased, exploited, and ill-imagined and then, through a force and generosity of vision, propels himself into life, selfhood, and a path forward. Intimate, bold, and sonically mesmerizing, Mutiny addresses loneliness, desire, doubt, memory, and the borderline between beauty and tragedy. With a ferocity that belies the tenderness and vulnerability at the heart of this remarkable collection, Williams honors the transformative power of anger, and the clarity that comes from allowing that anger to burn clean.

Ours: A Novel
ISBN: 059365482X OCLC:

Viking 2024

In this ingenious, sweeping novel, Phillip B. Williams introduces us to an enigmatic woman named Saint, a fearsome conjuror who, in the 1830s, annihilates plantations all over Arkansas to rescue the people enslaved there. She brings those she has freed to a haven of her own creation: a town just north of St. Louis, magically concealed from outsiders, named Ours.It is in this miraculous place that Saint’s grand experiment—a truly secluded community where her people may flourish—takes root. But although Saint does her best to protect the inhabitants of Ours, over time, her conjuring and memories begin to betray her, leaving the town vulnerable to intrusions by newcomers with powers of their own. As the cracks in Saint’s creation are exposed, some begin to wonder whether the community’s safety might be yet another form of bondage.Set over the course of four decades and steeped in a rich tradition of American literature informed by Black surrealism, mythology, and spirituality, Ours is a stunning exploration of the possibilities and limitations of love and freedom by a writer of capacious vision and talent.

ISBN: 1937420736 OCLC: 880974097

Sibling Rivalry Press, Alexander, AR : ©2014.

Poems and conversations by men in the black, queer literary community, sparked into existence by a Best American Poetry blog from Jericho Brown in which he singled out some of the most exciting young, black, and gay men writing today ... features poems by and dialogue between poets Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Saeed Jones, Rickey Laurentiis, Phillip B. Williams, and L. Lamar Wilson.

Thief in the Interior
ISBN: 1938584171 OCLC: 903436605

Phillip B. Williams investigates the dangers of desire, balancing narratives of addiction, murders, and hate crimes with passionate, uncompromising depth. Formal poems entrenched in urban landscapes crack open dialogues of racism and homophobia rampant in our culture. Multitudinous voices explore one's ability to harm and be harmed, which uniquely juxtaposes the capacity to revel in both experiences.