Justin Phillips Reed | St. Louis Public Radio

Justin Phillips Reed

Poet Justin Phillip Reed relocated to St. Louis to earn his MFA at Washington University, and the city's history hovers over his first book, which won the National Book Award.
Nicholas A. C. Nichols

Justin Phillip Reed’s writing career has gotten off to an extraordinary start. Following a chapbook in 2016, this year he published his first collection of poetry (“Indecency,” Coffee House Press) — and it won the National Book Award for poetry. “Indecency” is, in large part, a product of the 29-year old’s time in St. Louis.

The South Carolina native relocated here to earn his MFA at Washington University, which he completed in 2015. His work foregrounds his identity as a queer black man in America, and examines the complex social calculus he’s navigated as he earns literary accolades and is celebrated by traditionally white institutions.