Erou uses the framework of the Greek epic (The Odyssey, The Iliad, The Aeneid, etc.) to examine the workings of a nuclear family, in particular a father/husband whose life, marriage, and death are imagined as a kind of hero’s journey, recounted in the form of a modern “epic” poem that is interwoven throughout the manuscript. As the father moves in the space between life and death, reality and myth, the book also reconciles with the place of the wife/mother and daughter as the ones left behind.
Early praise for Erou:
“These spare poems quiver with grief, but they are no mere elegies. No, they are exorcisms for the father’s infidelities and outbursts, they are conjurings of his ghost as it wanders the subways and bears witness to his own autopsy. Here, you have the strange finesse of Anne Carson but hammered by the hard knocks of the city and our modern times.”
—Nickole Brown, author of Sister and Fanny Says
“These engrossing poems bind family and myth, intimacy and allegory, 'Gap-toothed Erou' and 'Erou of the forked tongue.' The poetry of Maya Phillips is full of unforgettable imagery, wordplay and candor. She writes with a clarity that can cut as quickly as it calms.”
—Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin and How to Be Drawn
“The hero’s journey has never been more engaging in contemporary poetry than in Erou by Maya Phillips. We travel between the mythical and the hyper-real, making sense of a world that’s becoming stranger than fiction daily; she captures how our lives appear to us and gives permission to question why our days feel like a fable. Phillips navigates between the struggles of family and the complications of love and the quotidian challenges we must navigate in the world. With the keen eye of Robert Hayden and the lyric range of June Jordan, Maya Phillips has stepped forward with a collection of poems that’s an Odyssey for the 21st century.”
—A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineaste and M-A-C-N-O-L-I-A
Maya Phillips was born and raised in New York. Maya received her MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson's MFA Program for Writers and her BFA from Emerson College. Her poetry has appeared in At Length, BOAAT, Ghost Proposal, Hayden's Ferry Review, Vinyl, The Gettysburg Review, The New York Times Magazine, The Missouri Review, and The Rumpus, among others, and her arts & entertainment journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vulture, Mashable, Slate, The Week, American Theatre, and more. Her debut poetry collection, Erou, is forthcoming in fall 2019 from Four Way Books. A former content editor & producer at the Academy of American Poets, Maya currently works as a web producer at The New Yorker and as a freelance writer. She lives in Brooklyn.
Cortney Lamar Charleston is the author of Telepathologies (Saturnalia Books, 2017), selected by D.A. Powell for the 2016 Saturnalia Books Poetry Prize. He was awarded a 2017 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and he has also received fellowships from Cave Canem, The Conversation Literary Festival and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Winner of a Pushcart Prize, his poems have appeared in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, New England Review, Granta, The Nation and elsewhere. He serves as a poetry editor at The Rumpus and is on the editorial board at Alice James Books.
Rachel Eliza Griffiths is a visual artist and poet. Her most recent collection of poetry is Lighting the Shadow (Four Way Books 2015). Griffiths' visual and literary work has appeared widely, including in The New Yorker, Tin House, The Progressive, Los Angeles Review of Books, and many others. She lives in New York City.
Nathan McClain is the author of Scale (Four Way Books, 2017), a recipient of scholarships from Sewanee Writers' Conference, The Frost Place, and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. His poetry and prose have recently appeared or are forthcoming in New York Times Magazine, West Branch Wired, The Common, upstreet, Poem-a-Day, and Foundry. He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Jeanann Verlee is the author of prey (Black Lawrence Press, 2018), Said the Manic to the Muse (Write Bloody Publishing, 2015), and the award-winning Racing Hummingbirds (Write Bloody Publishing, 2010). She has received an NEA Poetry Fellowship, the Third Coast Poetry Prize, and the Sandy Crimmins National Prize. Her work appears at Poets.org, Adroit, and BuzzFeed, among others. Find her at jeanannverlee.com.