by: Kerry Torpey ’20 A&E Co-Editor
Last week, the Providence College Poetry and Fiction series welcomed award-winning poet Phillip B. Williams. Sponsored by the Department of English and the Office of Institutional Diversity, Williams read poems from his most recent publication, Thief in the Interior.
A native of Chicago, Illinois, Williams is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where he completed a MFA in creative writing. He is the winner of the 2017 Kate Tufts Discovery Award for his collection, Thief in the Interior.
Kate Tufts, the wife of writer and businessman Kingsley Tufts, established the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award of $50,000 in 1991. In 1993, she created the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, which was $5,000. Today, winners of the Kate Tufts Poetry Award, like Williams, receive $10,000 and are awarded “to give a poet a little breathing room and a little recognition.”
Also in 2017, Williams received the Whiting Award for poetry. The Whiting Award is given annually to 10 up-and-coming writers. A jury of writers and scholars select the winners each year. Furthermore, he has also received the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry.
Speaking to faculty, staff, and students in the Fiondella Great Room in the Ruane Center for the Humanities, Williams exhibited his mastery of the craft by sharing a selection of new and published poems. His particular attention to the discrimination of people of color & sexualities within the LGBTQ+ community made his poems deeply personal and emotional.
After his reading, he answered questions and did a book signing for Thief in the Interior. More information on Williams and his publications can be found on his website, www.phillipbwilliams.com.