Gary Phillips

Interview topic:

My Life Flows On In Endless Song: Gratitude, Abundance and Synchronicity

Gary Phillips is so much more than just a poet, preacher, political activist, former Chatham County Commissioner, longtime land-loving real estate agent (and best man at my wedding!).  Gary and I, along with Carrie Bolton (also a summit speaker) were part of the Chatham Political Reform Group, a multi-racial group of 12-14 which met monthly throughout the 1990’s.  Gary’s wisdom, courage and kindness springing from his deep roots in land and family come through clearly in this interview where we explore authenticity, improvisation and making a positive difference.

“My best self knows that in that moment I need to slow down. Right? So part of what this process has taught me and other poets and other writers, too, is that this is a process where you get to actually listen to your words, not just throw them out onto the universe. And that’s a very, very different process.  It’s a deeper process for everybody.”


On a reading tour with my publisher in New England. There's a scrap of song in the middle.

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Gary Phillips is the 2016-2019 poet laureate of Carrboro, North Carolina. He is a writer, naturalist and entrepreneur. Gary lives in a rammed earth house with his wife Ilana Dubester. He avidly reads poetry and afro-futurism, studies amphibian activities on full moon nights and was once chair of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners. Gary is a child of Appalachia who casts bones and knows his grandmothers.

His book of poetry and occasional pieces, The Boy The Brave Girls was printed in 2016 by Human Error Publishing (Wendell, Mass).

His publishing credits include The Sun Magazine, Independent Weekly, Men’s Journal, Missouri Farm Journal, Communities Magazine, Ploughshares, Chatham County Line, Ransom Street Mag and NPR, where he performed regular commentaries as part of Radio Free Bubba.

Gary has contributed chapters to several books, including Environmentally Sound Agriculture, The Best of Radio Free Bubba and Small Stories Big Changes: Agents of Change on the Frontlines of Sustainability.

He has participated as a featured poet at the Cervantes Festival, Greenfield Reads, UNC Literary Festival, Conference on Money and Meaning, North Quabbin Garlic and Arts Festival and The West End Poetry Festival.