G. E. Murray
Running on Empty takes a significantly different direction from that set forth in earlier work, notably The Pregnant Man. There Phillips displayed an appetite for literary decorum. Erudite, polished, technically accomplished, those poems seemed not as fine as the craftsmanship that formed them. Happily, this new work, taken in its breadth, achieves a greater emotional consistency by relinquishing some of composition's ornament.
It also should be noted that Phillips' new title is derived from pop composer Jackson Browne's upbeat California country-rock anthem. It should be further clarified that Phillips' patient causes strike no relationship to Browne's pulsating lyrics, and indeed are...
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