You missed Carl reading about drinking in parking lots while others sled down Art Hill. You missed the camaraderie of writers and English professors. You missed the wine, the cheese, the strawberries, and the grapes. You missed the wall where graduates of 2013 signed their names right above the disassembled bench.
But you did not miss the poems. The poems are published. Why, I have a volume right here, Quiver of arrows, twenty years of selected poems. I did not buy the new hardback. What if what I most like is what Carl wrote at the beginning? How could I tell with just a new book?
Why go to a reading? Why not leave the book on the back of the toilet, a poem just the right length for this kind of repose? Why see the man when his heart is there in serif font?
I go to see him. I go to see the others that go. Do I go for the free wine? I liked the interplay of serious poem, slightly scary as a man in front of us bares what is usually covered with the aw shucks counterpoint of between-poem chatter. He said he didn’t like that chatter, but oh how good he was at it.
The poems brought to mind sexual acts that could only be imagined, but the only time he blushed red was when he mentioned iambic pentameter. What exactly embarrasses a poet? Is it the same as what embarrasses a biologist?
You may have missed Carl Phillips, but there are other readings, scheduled here. I bet there are other events like this all over St. Louis. But this one is on our walk home.