Phillip B. Williams
Poet | Editor | Blogger
Consultations
 
Consider this part of the website to be about you and your dreams as a writer. Oftentimes, we as find ourselves writing in a vacuum and need help that simply isn't available in our day-to-day lives. Between writing groups and even our closest friends, there is a limitation on how much constructive feedback you can receive.
 
This is why I am here, to assist you with your writing by pushing your work and you beyond your greatest expectations. 
With the following consulation services, you have your choice of two package deals and one a la carte selection, each with their own unique services and affordable price ranges.

Testimonials

Joshua Bennett, author of The Sobbing School (Penguin, 2016)

Aricka Foreman, author of Dream With a Glass Chamber (YesYes Books, 2016)

Danez Smith, author of the Lambda Award-winning [insert] Boy (YesYes Books, 2014), and Don't Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017)

Plainly stated, I cannot imagine the process of writing my first manuscript without

Phillip B. Williams’s imagination & singular ear. When we first met, I was little more than a year or so into the practice of submitting poems for publication, and certainly had no idea how to go about putting together a full-length collection of work.
 
From the first, Phillip was exceedingly generous with both his time and his rare brilliance. Over the course of several weeks, I saw my poems begin to come together, not as a unit, per se, but
as this uncanny ensemble, each individual component feeding the others as if connected
by vein or circuit. In his hands, my over-long mass of jumbled poems became a finished book project. Since then, my manuscript, The Sobbing School, has reached finalist standing for three book prizes and won the National Poetry Series, soon to be published by Penguin.
 
What’s more, it has served as a daily reminder that the craft of poetry is always already a collaborative effort, that this work is only possible because we are one amongst the countless many, moving through the world in search of worthy music. Phillip B. Williams showed me that another human being could see
something I couldn’t in the poems I cared about most. He perceived strands, entire bridges, where I saw only shards floating through the ether.
 
It is that sort of capacious vision, that knowledge of not only where to cut, but where to continue building, that makes Phillip B. Williams such a masterful editor. He sees the entire landscape, and wants to help you build it for the sake of the thing itself, for the sake of beauty in a world that desperately needs it. It sounds sort of intense, I know.
 
But that’s what Phillip’s work—as both an editor and as a poet—elicits. Unbridled surprise. New words for the way you feel.
Phillip has a keen eye.  His critique gears toward the writer's voice and intention, which is not an easy skill, but he wields it generously. 
 
Much of the work I've shared with Phillip had all the components, they just needed an objective, craft-rooted edit.  Or he found a line and coaxed the "real" poem out of that.  I'm grateful for his expertise and care.  Students and working writers alike will benefit greatly from his rigor, kindness, and his ability to see possibilities, rather than lack.
  
When I was working on my first collection, Phillip’s notes transformed the manuscript from something with potential to something that was formidable and unique. I remember he said “this is good, but here’s what will keep it from being published.” Knowing him to be a tenacious and brilliant reader, I didn’t take his words lightly. After Phillip’s edits my manuscript was a finalist in several contest and I received several offers from presses that I had always dreamed of. I love that Phillip didn’t baby the work; he cared enough about it to tell me things that I might not have wanted to hear but ultimately made my poems live up to the promise that I hoped they could. 
 
Since then, I’ve asked Phillip review samples for fellowships and MFA applications, all to positive results. I am grateful to know someone so unflinching in their love of craft and grounded in their critique.
 
Phillip’s eye cuts right to the heart of the poems. He has a keen sense of rhythm & balance in individual poems and manuscripts, allowing him to sift through the work and find what is the raw gold in the lines. From what I have seen, he doesn’t give you suggestions, as some do, to make your poems something closer to “what he would do”, but is able to help you realize a fuller version of yourself from careful reading and spotting out the strengths, weaknesses, and happy accidents in your work.
 
Now as I write, Phillip’s voice is always in my head, encouraging me to make smarter decisions in poems, to approach the work with passion and intelligence, to discover the seeds in seemingly failing projects, but always a voice encouraging that something brilliant is waiting down the road.
  

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