Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Geoffrey Philp attended Mona Primary and Jamaica College, where he studied literature under the tutelage of Dennis Scott. After leaving Jamaica in 1979, he went to Miami Dade College and after graduating, he studied Caribbean, African and African-American literature with Dr. O.R. Dathorne and creative writing with Lester Goran, Evelyn Wilde Mayerson, and Isaac Bashevis Singer. As a James Michener Fellow at the University of Miami, he studied poetry with Kamau Brathwaite and fiction with George Lamming.
In 1990, he published his first book of poems, Exodus and Other Poems, and six other poetry collections have followed: Florida Bound, hurricane center, xango music, Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas, and Dub Wise. He has also published two books of short stories, Uncle Obadiah and the Alien and Who's Your Daddy. Benjamin, My Son, his first novel, was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize and since then, he has published another novel, Garvey's Ghost .
Philp's poems and short stories are widely published, appearing in Small Axe, World Literature Today, The Caribbean Writer, Gulf Stream, Florida in Poetry: A History of the Imagination, Wheel and Come Again: An Anthology of Reggae Poetry,Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root, The Oxford Book of Caribbean Short Stories, and The Oxford Book of Caribbean Verse.
He lives in Miami, Florida.
IN THE PRESS
The voice now distinctive, recognizable, the tone clear & clipped & ‘skitter’ [the ‘something like music’], the stanzas running into each separate other, as they shd, like the human voice does. Also a new strong sense of place (Third World Miami and its Spanish - and Kgn of course – esp from Mountain View to the Sea), family & history (welcome the Seminole).
Kamau Brathwaite, author of Born to Slow Horses
Geoffrey Philp creates intensely living characters who frequently learn to relinquish some of their passion in exchange for clearer perceptions of self. And the writer uses the language continuum of the densely pluralist West Indies, to create vivid relationships between the levels of truth experienced by his characters and his narrative 'voice'.
Dennis Scott, author of Uncle Time
Philp embodies the continuation of a Caribbean tradition of criticism and creative writing. Indeed, his style is deeply reminiscent of Derek Walcott’s poetry, densely metaphorical in “Beyond Mountain View”. But it also bears the influence of Kamau Brathwaite’s more pared-down couplets in “Limbo: Version”.