Between 1987 & 2014, Phillip worked as a teacher of sport & camps throughout regional NSW, Far North Queensland & the Northern Territory. He designed sport & Outdoor/Environmental Education programs designed to teach emotional resiliency, cooperative group learning, safe decision-making & respect for Country. In late 2014 some unresolved mental health issues reached a crisis, & he suffered a breakdown which resulted in a period of hospitalisation & the end of his career. In late 2015 he retreated to Melbourne’s Sunshine where he could concentrate on his recovery while ‘working’ as a writer. Phillip has completed (via external/part-time studies) a Doctor of Creative Arts at Wollongong University where he researched Australian poetry, contemporary place theory, ecocriticism & postcolonialism. For many years Phillip has published his poetry, reviews & essays in such spaces as: Antipodes, Best Australian Poetry, Cordite Poetry Review, Meanjin, Meniscus, Plumwood Mountain, Overland, Southerly, Verity La & Westerly. His books include: Sweetened in Coals (Ginninderra), Borroloola Class (IPSI), Fume (UWAP), & (as editor) Diwurruwurru: Poetry from the Gulf of Carpentaria (Blank Rune Press). Phillip is a passionate member of the Western Bulldogs Football Club (& a foundation member of Bulldogs Pride).
Throughout his forties and fifties Phillip found himself on a sticky wicket: the grief for his baby son and younger brothers, suicide attempts, self-harming, the premature termination of his career, and the failure of religious belief to explain or console. In and out of psychiatric care, he has been treated for PTSD, severe depression and social anxiety. There are consolations: family, companion greyhounds, Sunshine, the Western Bulldogs and Australian Football, books, the fine and performing arts but, for Phillip, this remains a time of loss and despair. This is, therefore, a collection of lamentations, achingly focused on what it is to live with poor mental health, but it is also a defiant celebration of survival and the redeeming power of familial love, sport and the arts.