The poetry in this collection is honest and accessible. In his introduction, Phillips suggests the work is about relationships: his affiliation with nature, with others, and ultimately with the self.
There are two very different kinds of wilderness here: the rugged Eastern seaboard, and the stark reality of cyberspace.
It is clear from the writing and photographs, that the poet is comfortable with nature; the self-imposed isolation on his Island is not without purpose. Indeed, he is not just the casual observer; somehow he is part of it.
In complete contrast to his Island retreat in the Bay of Fundy, Phillips uses technology to good effect, when describing Internet encounters and relationships. Here we see an ethnographer at work, observing the anguish of those who can only confess to strangers. His poetry is intimate and provocative when dealing with this strange new reality.
In a world where haiku has become hugely popular, taking on the quality of tacky greeting card verse, with little understanding of its historic significance, the haiku in "Whispers" are refreshing. The poet uses words as snapshots; capturing the moment and nothing more. Recently, after reading this book, a critic said of the haiku:
"I am reminded of the story of a zen artist who watched a bamboo grove for many weeks, then in an instant, created a pen and ink drawing, which contained just enough information to describe everything."