Rowan Ricardo-Phillips Wins Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

Rowan Ricardo Phillips by Sue Kwon

Rowan Ricardo Phillips by Sue Kwon

Rowan Ricardo-Phillips, an associate professor in the Department of English at Stony Brook University, has won a 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award from The Cleveland Foundation for his second book of poetry, Heaven. This is the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and examines diversity.

“Lyric steeped in beauty, in exhilaration; when Phillips writes about jazz or the Wu-Tang Clan, the quotidian is lifted onto a plain as mythical and fateful as the battlefields of Troy,” said poet Rita Dove, one of the jurors who helped select this year’s award winners.

Henry Louis Gates Jr., the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor at Harvard University, chaired the jury, which also included novelist Joyce Carol Oates, psychologist Steven Pinker and historian Simon Schama.

Past winners include three writers who went on to win Nobel prizes: Nadine Gordimer, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Toni Morrison.

Ricardo-Phillips will be honored on September 15 at the Ohio Theatre in Cleveland. For more information, visit

About Rowan Ricardo-Phillips
Rowan Ricardo-Phillips is director of the Stony Brook’s Poetry Center and was named a 2015 Guggenheim Fellow. In 2013 his book The Ground won the Whiting Writers’ Award, the PEN/Joyce Osterwell Award and the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writer Award in Poetry. It was also a finalist for the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry and a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. Heaven made the National Book Awards Longlist for Poetry.

Listen to Phillips read a poem, “Measure for Measure,” from Heaven, or click here to read it in The New Yorker.

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