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About this poet

Tim Seibles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1955. He received a BA from Southern Methodist University in 1977, after which he taught English at the high school level for ten years. He received an MFA from Vermont College in 1990.

Seibles is the author of several poetry collections, including One Turn Around the Sun (Etruscan Press, 2017), Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012), a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award; Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University Press, 2004); and Body Moves (Corona Press, 1988).

In the citation for the 2012 National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation notes, “Tim Seibles’ work is proof: the new American poet can’t just speak one language. In his new book, he fuses our street corners’ quickest wit, our violent vernaculars, and our numerous tongues of longing and love.”

In 2016 Seibles was selected as the poet laureate of Virginia. He has also received the Open Voice Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Seibles has served as a professor at Old Dominion University for over twenty years. He lives in Norfolk, Virginia.


Selected Bibliography

One Turn Around the Sun (Etruscan Press, 2017)
Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012)
Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University Press, 2004)
Hammerlock (Cleveland State University Press, 1999)
Hurdy-Gurdy (Cleveland State University Press, 1992)
Body Moves (Corona Press, 1988)

Vendetta, May 2006

My thoughts are murder to the State and involuntarily go plotting against her.
          —Henry David Thoreau

As if leaving
it behind would
have me lost
in this place, as if

keeping it
could somehow
save me from the
parade of knives,

I have held
my rage on a short
leash like a good,
mad dog whose bright

teeth could keep
the faces of our enemies
well lit. Is it

wrong to hate
the leaders? Am I wrong
to hate their silk
ties and their

secret economies?
Am I wrong? Am I?
Look how they

work the stage
like cool comedians,
ribbing the nations this
way, then that—

gaff after giggle
filling the auditoriums
with the empty
skulls. Maybe this

is the moment
to abandon
metaphor: shouldn't somebody
make them

suffer: now that
war is easy money,
won't the reasons
keep coming to see

how well
people die?

     I guess this
is the world
I was born

into: moonlight,
sunshine—kind city

of my mother's lap, my
father     tossing me

up     and catching me—

I remember
the first time I saw

autumn     outside
my window: the colors

came with the smell
of burning

leaves     and starving
in our basement,

the crickets
trying to stave off

the chill, still working
their little whistles
after dark.

     I think, even
then, I knew a season
would come
for us: the wind

tilting slowly, but
suddenly everyone
is under the cold

still holding on
to their wallets
as the government

quietly turns     and day
after day, the terrible stories

cover everything.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Seibles. Originally published in Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Seibles. Originally published in Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.

Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles is the author of Fast Animal (Estruscan Press, 2012), a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award.

by this poet

poem
                      for Natalie

So much like sequins
the sunlight on this river.
Something like that kiss—
 
remember?
Fourth of July, with the moon
down early	the air moved
 
as if it were thinking,
as if it had begun
to understand
 
how hard it is 
to feel at home
in the world,
 
but that
2
poem

Picture a city
and the survivors: from their
windows, some scream. Others
walk the aftermath: blood
and still more blood coming
from the mouth of a girl.

This is the same movie
playing all over
the world: starring everybody
who ends up where the action
is: lights,

poem
Five-legged pocket spiders, knuckled
starfish, grabbers of forks, why
do I forget that you love me:
your willingness to button my shirts,
tie my shoes—even scratch my head!
which throbs like a traffic jam, each thought
leaning on its horn. I see you

waiting anyplace always 
at the ends of my arms—for the doctor