Introduction & Overview of All It Takes by Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips
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All It Takes Summary & Study Guide Description

All It Takes Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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Carl Phillips, the author of “All It Takes,” is one of the fastest-rising stars in the literary world. From his first collection of poems in 1992, In the Blood, through his seventh collection, The Rest of Love, published in 2004, he has won numerous awards and honors. While it is often lauded for its treatment of the black and gay themes that are central to his identity, Phillips's work is usually deeply imbued with classical allusions and complex imagery that makes his readers see what they know with a new sense of enlightenment.

In “All It Takes” (from the book The Rest of Love), Phillips explores the things of the physical world that cannot be directly observed—those things that are knowable only through, as he puts it, “the visible effects by which we know them.” The poem moves with ease from observation of common occurrences to reflection on those uncommon events (like the last berries clinging to a dying vine in winter) to suggestions that what we know of the world is nothing more than what the ancient cultures knew when they devised their own mythologies. Although these ideas could steer a less commanding poet into different directions, Phillips stays on course, holding “All It Takes” together as a dreamy meditation on the nature of reality.

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This section contains 216 words
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