Biography and Interviews

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