In Philip Bryant's new collection the urban hum of Chicago's South Side meets the pastoral beauty of small-town Minnesota life-and also its long lonely winters. Sounds and smells from the Deep South permeate the snowbanks and the dazzling riffs of Coltrane and Bird brighten the gray November skies.
Bryant describes the dark exhilaration of receiving as an untested youth his first switch-blade knife and praises an ex-girlfriend who in trashing his work with savage honesty reminds him that what a poem says actually matters.
The rhythms are always musical and the playful street talk cannot disguise the fact that we're in the presence of an sober-eyed romantic who uses the cadences of the blues to summon the beauty at the core of this often harsh world we live in.
Philip S. Bryant a native of Chicago is the author of three pervious collections of poetry-Blue Island Sermon on a Perfect Spring Day and Stompin' at the Grand Terrace: a jazz memoir in verse with music by Carolyn Wilkins. His work has appeared in Blues Vision: African American Writing from Minnesota Good Poems American Places selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor and Where One Voice Ends Another Begins: 150 Years of Minnesota Poetry.
Sermon on a Perfect Spring Day was nominated for a Forward Prize and was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in Poetry. Selections from Stompin' at the Grand Terrace were chosen by Los Angeles Times Music Critic Ann Powers to appear in Best Music Writing 2010.
He was a fellow of the Minnesota State Arts Board in 1992 and 1998 and has served on the governing board of the Loft the premier literary arts center in the Twin Cities. He has worked with the Givens Foundation as a mentor for emerging Minnesota African American writers. He was a radio-essayist for Minnesota Public Radio and is currently professor of English at Gustavus Adolphus College. He lives with his wife Renée in St Peter, Minnesota.