who it is
Justin Phillip Reed is an American poet living in St. Louis. He is the author of Indecency (Coffee House Press), winner of the 2018 National Book Award in Poetry, and of the chapbook A History of Flamboyance (YesYes Books, 2016). His work appears in African American Review, Best American Essays, Callaloo, The Kenyon Review, Obsidian, and elsewhere. A three-time high school expellee and an ex-college dropout, he received his BA in creative writing at Tusculum College and his MFA in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis, where he served as Junior Writer-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Conversation Literary Festival, and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. Reed was born and raised in South Carolina.
what it do
"Reed’s visceral and teasingly cerebral debut probes black identity, sexuality, and violence and is inseparably personal and political. He displays a searing sense of injustice about dehumanizing systems, and his speakers evoke the quotidian with formidable eloquence."
— Publishers Weekly
"Reed’s corporate entity, then, is an infernal creation—embodied but having no particular body, and therefore no locus of humanity, since whatever else we are, we are our bodies first and finally."
— Justin Taylor, for Assignment Mag
"If these poems are confessions, then Reed's many formal interventions mean to break up, down or apart, reveal and revise, perhaps, the performance of those confessions, an effort to expose their inner makings, motives, our histories, these 'constructed rituals' of shame and desire. I'd say this fits a mind that seems at turns insatiable, wanting more of our world and of the poem; at other times more reserved, wanting less; but at all times is a mind nevertheless committed to the poem's queerest possibility, evoking its many traditions just as it disrupts or rewrites them. So these poems teach me. Justin Phillip Reed is a productive new voice in contemporary poetry, 'rose up like a hard new fact,' and one that feels in every way as irrefutable."
— Rickey Laurentiis, author of Boy With Thorn
"Satisfying and revelatory confessional marked by an aching fury to revise the exclusionary narratives of creation."
— Neyat Yohannes, for Vagabond City Lit
"His gods are the idea of god translated onto men and memories he loves or beds or worships or all of the above."
— Kimberly Ann Southwick, for Ploughshares Blog
"Justin Phillip Reed is a voice worth hearing, the world a bigger and better place because of it."
selected for Bettering American Poetry 2016
eleven eleven "Untitled (We aint even posed to be here)" & 1 more
Foundry "When I Was a Man"
Guernica “The Hang-Up”
joINT. Literary "Performing A Warped Masculinity […]" & 2 more
Lambda Literary "Minotaur"
Nashville Review "Beneficence"
Paperbag “The Telemachy” & 3 more
PEN America "The Bastard's Crown" & 1 more
Phantom "Necessary Room" & 1 more
Poets.org "About the Bees"
The Adroit Journal "Exit Hex" & 1 more
The New York Times Magazine "Theory for Expansion"
The Offing "When I Am the Reaper" & 1 more
The Shade Journal "Head of Medusa" & 1 more
The Shallow Ends "When What They Called Us Was Our Name"
The Southeast Review “Considering My Disallowance” & 1 more
Tupelo Quarterly "South Carolina is / shaped like a heart […]"
Vinyl "|p|l|e|a|s|" & 2 more
wildness "When I Had the Haint" & 1 more
Winter Tangerine Review "Open Season"
Yalobusha Review "The Day ______ Died" & 1 more
Black Warrior Review "Villainy"
Catapult "Killing Like They Do in the Movies"
selected by Jonathan Franzen
for Best American Essays 2016
The Rumpus "The Double Agency of Will Smith in Sci-Fi"
FEATURES & Interviews
Poets & Writers Wilder Forms:
Our Fourteenth Annual Look at Debut Poets
St. Louis Public Radio Cut & Paste
The Steer Episode 3
The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat
St. Louis Magazine "Girl, I guess there's glamour in it"
Poetry Society of America In Their Own Words: On "Consent"
The Shade Journal Shade of the Week: A Blues A Blues A Blues
Blueshift Journal Feature of the Month
Howlarium Date a Creator
where it finna be
St. Louis Poetry Center: Sunday Workshop
Sun Feb 17 | Regional Arts Commission | St. Louis, MO
Fri Feb 22 | New York University, Lillian Vernon House | New York, NY
2019 AWP Conference
Thu Mar 28 | Portland, OR
"HOw To Eat Your Watermelon in Mixed Company (and Enjoy IT)"
with Casey Rocheteau, Jonah Mixon-Webster, Danez Smith, and Morgan Parker
"Radiance versus Ordinary Light: A Tribute to Carl Phillips"
with Rickey Laurentiis, Dawn Lundy Martin, Erin Belieu, and Carl Phillips
Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival
Sat Mar 30 | New Orleans, LA
Pee Dee Poetry & Fiction Festival
Nov 7-9 | Francis Marion University | Florence, SC
where it been
Conversation Literary Festival, Southern U.S.
Comprising 16 poets of color, this weeklong fellowship program featured readings, workshops, and craft talks hosted in Oxford, MS, Tuscaloosa, AL, and New Orleans, LA.
PARIS IS STILL BURNING, miami
In conjunction with the 2015 Miami Book Festival, this event was coordinated by Neil de la Flor and JV Portela of Reading Queer, held at the Olympia Theater and featured the poets Dawn Lundy Martin, David Tomas Martinez, Justin Phillip Reed, and Danez Smith.
Paris is still burning, minneapolis
This AWP 2015 off-site event was curated by Patricia Smith, held in OOTN, and featured the queer poets of color Jericho Brown, Eduardo C. Corral, Saeed Jones, Rickey Laurentiis, Justin Phillip Reed, Charif Shanahan, Danez Smith, Jayson P. Smith, Phillip B. Williams, and L. Lamar Wilson.