In brief: Philip Metres has written ten books, including Shrapnel Maps (Copper Canyon 2020), Sand Opera (Alice James 2015), Pictures at an Exhibition (2016), and The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance (2018), among others. Awarded the Lannan Fellowship, three Arab American Book Awards, two NEAs, and the Adrienne Rich Award, he is professor of English and director of the Peace, Justice, and Human Rights program at John Carroll University.
Or, to be more longwinded:
Born in San Diego on July 4th, 1970, the son of a Lebanese American Vietnam Veteran and a ex-convent novitiate of Irish and German extraction, Philip Metres grew up outside Chicago, attended Loyola Academy and College of the Holy Cross, and spent the following year in Russia on a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship pursuing an independent project called “Contemporary Russian Poetry and Its Relationship to Historical Change.” Since receiving a Ph.D. in English and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Indiana University in 2001, Metres has written and translated over fifteen books and chapbooks, including Shrapnel Maps (forthcoming 2020), The Sound of Listening: Poetry as Refuge and Resistance (2018), Pictures at an Exhibition (2016), Sand Opera (2015), I Burned at the Feast: Selected Poems of Arseny Tarkovsky (2015), Compleat Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Poetic Texts of Lev Rubinstein (2014), Concordance of Leaves (2013), abu ghraib arias (2011), Ode to Oil (2011), To See the Earth (2008), Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941 (2007), Instants (2006), Primer for Non-Native Speakers (2004), Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Selected Poems of Lev Rubinstein (2004), and A Kindred Orphanhood: Selected Poems of Sergey Gandlevsky (2003).
His writing has appeared widely, including in Best American Poetry, and has garnered two NEA fellowships, three Arab American Book Awards, the Lannon Literary Fellowship, the Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, six Ohio Arts Council Grants, the Adrienne Rich Award for Poetry, the PEN/Heim Translation Grant, the Beatrice Hawley Award, the Akron Poetry Prize, the Anne Halley Prize, the Creative Workforce Fellowship, the Cleveland Arts Prize, and the inaugural George W. Hunt, S.J. Award for Excellence in Journalism, Literature & the Arts.
His work has been called “beautiful, powerful, magnetically original” (Cleveland Arts Prize citation). Lawrence Joseph has written that “Philip Metres’s poetry speaks to us all, in ways critical, vital, profound, and brilliant.” His poems have been translated into Arabic, Polish, Russian, and Tamil.
Were it not for the Ellis Island effect, his last name would be Abourjaili.
He is a professor of English at John Carroll University in Cleveland, where he teaches literature and creative writing, and lives with his wife Amy and their two daughters.
Interviews and Profiles
- Interview with Ilya Kaminsky: Poets and Borders Forum. Poetry International. February 2017.
- Interview with Kaveh Akbar. Divedapper. August 2016.
- Interview with Roy Scranton. Los Angeles Review of Books. August 2016.
- Interview with Rewa Zeinati. Sukoon. June 2016.
- Kenyon Review Conversation, May 2016
- Interview with Dan Poletta. The Sound of Applause. April 18, 2016.
- Interview with E.J. McAdams. The Conversant. March 2016.
- Interview with Randa Jarrar for the PEN TEN project. PEN America, November 2015.
- Interview with Nin Andrews. Best American Poetry Blog. February 28, 2015
- Interview with Fady Joudah. Los Angeles Review of Books. February 23, 2015.
- Interview with Andrew Summerson on Vatican Radio. February 28, 2015.
- Interview with Alice James. Alice James Newsletter. Fall 2014.
- Interview by William Kelley Woolfitt. Speaking of Marvels. March 28, 2014.
- Interview by Dee Perry. The Sound of Applause. WCPN 90.3. August 13, 2013.
- Interview by John Hoppenthaler. Congeries. July 2013.
- “Philip Metres on Refusing to Cede the Story of our Nation” by H.L. Hix. In/Quire. March 17, 2013.
- Best American Poetry Interview by Nin Andrews. March 8, 2014.
- “Philip Metres: Shaman-Poet of Peace.” Interview by Meg Pauken and Carla Thompson. Vatic Muse. September 13, 2012.
- Interview by Dee Perry. Around Noon. WCPN 90.3. July 9, 2012.
- Parsing Arias: A Dialogue through ‘Abu Ghraib Arias’” by Micah Cavaleri and Philip Metres. Jacket2. April 2012.
- “Interview with Philip Metres: Literature and Uprising” by Hilary Plum. Kenyon Review Online. May 17, 2011.
- From Charles Reznikoff to Chuck D. Poetry Off the Shelf. 2008.
- “Gray Matters.” Profile in Cleveland Magazine.
- “On the Corner with Bryan Sanders” on Come Together: Imagine Peace. Blog Talk Radio. 2008
- “Translated by” Interview by Shaindel Beers about Translation. Blog Talk Radio. 2008
- Moe Green Poetry Hour Interview by Rafael Alvarado. 2008
- Interview by Dee Perry. Around Noon. WCPN 90.3. April 8, 2008.
- Blog Talk Radio Interview by Carlye Archibeque on Behind the Lines. September 2007.
- Profile by Megan King for Carroll News. 2004