Author Xandria Phillips Presents HULL

Lucero Martinez

On November 5th, the College of Lake County invited author Xandria Phillips to do a writing workshop for any students interested in writing.

Phillips included writing advice during their poetry reading portion of their visit, as well, as explaining the meaning behind their poetry.

Phillips is a writer, educator, and visual artist from Ohio that has received recognition for their work from various writing sites and magazines.

Phillips has raised awareness for African American and LGBTQ+ poetry and their first book, HULL, won the 2020 Lambda Literary Award for Trans Poetry.

  “[HULL] is vast in both ambition and scope, striving to capture the depths and complexity of queer diasporic African identity in verse that is as fierce as it is tender and searing as it is celebratory,” said Luiza Flynn-Goodlet from The Adroit Journal.

In their new book, many poems make the reader question their thoughts and ideas, such as “I Never Used to Write About Birds”.

This poem was an expression of how the changing times were passing over the course of one’s life.

 There are also poems such as “The Tuskegee Experiments” that play a major role in African American history that is not always mentioned in most academic records, as the poem was inspired by the history of how African Americans were in an unethical experiment to see the natural course of syphilis when left untreated.

Xandria Phillips. Photo via Estley Stahl.

Xandria Phillips. Photo via Estley Stahl.

From the literary magazine NewCity Lit, one of Phillip’s favorite poems is “Poem Where I Refuse to Talk about -.” In this poem, Phillips writes about their experience and struggles with gender identity as a child.

“I was so tired, but those poems are when my identity was feeling undermined, and I had to do some deep thinking,” Phillips said.

In that poem, the lines “I’m eight wearing a frumpy / bunched-up dress with stockings” have been juxtaposed by “I want the sweat of boyhood / its ease and virtue on my neck”.

I found the last three lines of their poem, “I am made everyday like a bed / like a person makes another / and nothing ever asks to be made,” quite impactful, since this does have truth in our world.

Hull is now being sold under the publisher Nightboat Books.

Phillips is set to release a new book based around color theory and gender coming out soon.

 It is safe to say that Phillip’s intends to continue with their literary mission to create representation in poetry for queer black people.