Phil West

Phil West

Office: GSR 1.112B
Phone: (210) 458-7727

For faculty syllabi and current course schedule, please visit Bluebook. 

I have been a college professor since 2000, several months after graduating from the Michener Center for Writers (at the University of Texas at Austin) with a MFA in Writing, in the lucrative fields of poetry and playwriting. In my first-ever job interview at San Antonio College, I was asked to do part of one of my slam poems, as I was (at that time) active in that movement; I even appeared in a documentary film about slam which is still, all these years later, not entirely embarrassing. I also ran San Antonio's notorious Puro Slam from 2001 to 2006, a raucous weekly late-night affair where we cheered poetry, poignant heckles, and the Spurs (because the Spurs). 

I love teaching. Specifically, I love helping students to become better writers, readers, and critical thinkers. I am all about the rhetorical approach, pragmatism, development of voice, and going down the rabbit hole of research (but getting out in time to meet deadlines). 

I've been writing professionally for most of my life -- my BA, earned in 1990 at the University of Washington, was in journalism, but I'd already started freelancing as a 19-year-old college junior for the Seattle Times before getting my degree, writing about the nascent Seattle music scene that would come to define the '90s. (Fun fact: I interviewed Kurt Cobain for my college paper in 1989, and saw some incredible shows in that era, including an early Nirvana show in a downtown Seattle theater space with no stage; Kurt walked into the audience to play the final song.) 

I also spent a summer at the Los Angeles Times in 1990 as an intern, wrote a lot about radio, and told the music department Nirvana would be huge. No one there believed me at the time. I had one assignment where I briefly hung out in a club with Sam Kinison and Milli Vanilli before retreating back home to eat Nutter Butters. Life is a grand adventure. 

These days, when I write, it's principally about soccer, mainly for the MLS website and for the Howler website. I've also authored a book on the history of MLS; I'm quite proud of it. My allegiances are with Arsenal and Atletico Madrid, and I like all but one MLS team to varying degrees. But I'm also such a soccer advocate that I don't hold conflicting allegiances against you (even if you're a Chelsea fan). I watch a lot of games, and I also play striker for one of the worst over-40 teams in the Austin Men's Soccer Association. 

I live in Austin with my wife, my two sons, and two mostly-well-behaved dogs. When I'm not teaching, writing, or soccer-immersing, you might find me biking, traveling, listening to music (live, on KEXP, or elsewhere), or hosting dinner parties that devolve into spirited games of Scattergories or Heads Up. I also love Scrabble, playing mostly real words.