Xandria Phillips’ “Reasons for Smoking”
“I write to you from the predicament of Blackness,” is the opening line of Xandria Phillips’ new collection of poems, “Reasons for Smoking.” Unwritten, but deeply felt, is the predicament of Femaleness. And Gayness. And Differentness. All these challenges are met (and rhetorically bested) by this fierce poet’s keen sense of self and of the wrong-headed world she lives in. “Reasons for Smoking” is angry yet beautiful, devastated yet hopeful, knowing yet always searching. It’s a bracing tonic: not sweet, but salutary — for the mind and the soul.