My Trade Is Mystery: Seven Meditations from a Life in Writing

Designer: YALE BOOKS

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An invaluable companion for any writer seeking to make the writing life a more complex and cooperative venture

“Illuminating, deeply endearing essays.”-Ron Charles, 
Washington Post
“A lovely, loving letter to aspiring writers.”-Diego Báez, 
In these intimate and eloquent meditations, the award-winning poet Carl Phillips shares lessons he has learned about the writing life, an “apprenticeship to what can never fully be mastered.” Drawing on forty years of teaching and mentoring emerging writers, he weaves his experiences as a poet with the necessary survival skills, including ambition, stamina, silence, politics, practice, audience, and community.
In the tradition of Anne Lamott’s 
Bird by Bird, Rainer Maria Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, and Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, this is an invaluable companion for writers at every stage of their journey. Phillips’s book serves as a partner in speculation and an invitation to embrace mystery.


  • Hardcover ? : ? 112 pages
  • Dimensions ? : ? 14.71 x 1.47 x 20.68 cm