Justin Phillip Reed

justin phillip reed



who it is

Justin Phillip Reed is an American writer 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.

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what it do



Coffee House Press, May 2018


"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

   A History of Flamboyance   YesYes Books, 2016

A History of Flamboyance
YesYes Books, 2016

"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."

Ryan Werner, for Tinderbox Poetry Journal



Black Warrior Review "Villainy"

Catapult "Killing Like They Do in the Movies"
selected by Jonathan Franzen
Best American Essays 2016

Catapult "Melancholia, Death Motion, and the Makings of Marilyn Manson"

The Rumpus "The Double Agency of Will Smith in Sci-Fi"

 photo by francine j. harris

photo by francine j. harris



where it finna be



St. Louis Poetry Center: Sunday Workshop

Sun Feb 17 | Regional Arts Commission | St. Louis, MO


2019 AWP Conference

Mar 27-30 | 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




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. 




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.  



book it


Justin is available for readings, lectures, workshops, panels, and sometimes even band practice. check the promo kit here.