Photographers Unknown, We Dig Up Fire From Nearly Anywhere
I’m not sure how it got this early or why we needed
to keep the evening in what we would much later
agree was motion. What could grow so marvelous
and where might I’ve met you- only endless want
lay ahead, but we figured we’d earned it. Desire our
birthright, rebate checks clog the mailbox and spill
onto the lobby floor- account for them when
you get home; now run naked at the gulls
all you like, I’m wating for August right here.
Whatever you say sounds better with your thigh
against mine and caught in the camera-phones
of our undoing. Yes you told me what I need
but Brooklyn’s awfully far to go for something
you don’t even believe; what’s miraculous is that
we ever managed to be specific. What’s tedious;
insufficiently scandalous secrets. We dig up fire
from nearly anywhere but you’re too burnt to burn
or admit we wanted to try what feels almost new.
Mark Bibbins, There Is No You Are Everywhere, The Dance of No Hard Feelings, 2009, Copper Canyon Press
Born in Albany, New York in 1968, Mark Bibbins is an American poet who earned his Bachelor of Arts at New York City’s Hunter College and a Master of Fine Art at The New School, a private research university in New York City.
Bibbins’s poetry is constructed from words and anecdotes pieced together into a collage form which creates new layers of meanings. His pems are know for their sardonic wit, unmistakable sexuality, arresting titles and wide range of references from pop culture, media and politics. The emphasis of Bibbins’s work is not the moral or message behind it, but rather his mood or tone on the subject. This presentation allows people to approach the particular subject from a point of view that might lie outside their ordinary experience.
Bibbins received a Lambda Literary Award for his first collection of poetry “Sky Lounge”, published by Graywolf Press in 2003. He was awarded a Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2005. Bibbins’s second volume of poetry was the 2009 “The Dance of No Hard Feelings”, a collection of erotic love poems and clever elegies of ironic cynicism that examine the concepts of queer awareness and emotions.
In 2014, Mark Bibbins’s third collection entitled “They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full” was published by Copper Canyon Press. This volume examined the issues of power, gender, and sexuality through a series of “persona poems”. Each poem is spoken through the voice of a chosen personality, either modern and classical. The cadence of each poem’s distinctive voice presents a particular mood and perception to the listener.
Bibbins published his fourth collection “13th Balloon” in 2020. This book-length poem sequence examined the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s through an address to a dead beloved who passed in 1992 at the age of twenty-five. Part elegy and part personal memoir in verse, the poem combines fragmented experiences of youth and loss with anguish and desire. This volume was one of NPR’s Favorite Books of 2020 and was awarded the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry in 2021.
Mark Bibbins has resided in Manhattan, New York, since 1991. He currently teaches graduate programs at Columbia University and The New School, where he co-founded LIT Magazine. Bibbins is also a teacher at New York University’s Writers Program in Florence, Italy.