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About this poet

Mark Bibbins, born in Albany, New York, in 1968, received his BA at Hunter College and his MFA at The New School in Manhattan, where he has lived since 1991.

Bibbins is the author of three books of poetry: They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full (Copper Canyon Press, 2014); The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon Press, 2009); and Sky Lounge (Graywolf Press, 2003), winner of a Lambda Literary Award.

Known for their sardonic wit, arresting titles, unmistakable sexuality, surprising range of references, and wild diversity of scope, Bibbins’s poems rise from the mania of politics, media, and pop culture and address it with no shortage of irony, humor, and condemnation.

“With a title that perfectly encapsulates its tone and potential energy, Bibbins harnesses his venom and directs it toward those social forces that serve to numb people to the violence of their stultified lives. There’s urgency even in its moments of quiet, and beauty in every explosion,” wrote Publishers Weekly, which named They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full one of the “Best Books of 2014.”

The recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry, Bibbins teaches in the graduate programs at Columbia University and The New School, where he cofounded LIT magazine.


Bibliography

They Don’t Kill You Because They’re Hungry, They Kill You Because They’re Full (Copper Canyon Press, 2014)
The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon Press, 2009)
Sky Lounge (Graywolf Press, 2003)

And You Thought You Were the Only One

Mark Bibbins
Someone waits at my door. Because he is
    dead he has time but I have my secrets--

    this is what separates us from the dead.
See, I could order take-out or climb down

the fire escape, so it's not as though he
    is keeping me from anything I need.

    While this may sound like something I made up,
it is not; I have forgotten how to

lie, despite all my capable teachers.
    Lies are, in this way, I think, like music

    and all is the same without them as with.
The fluid sky retains regret, then bursts.

He is still there, standing in the hall, insisting
    he is someone I once knew and wanted,

    come laden with gifts he cannot return.
If I open the door he'll flash and fade

like heat lightning behind a bank of clouds
    one summer night at the edge of the world.

From Sky Lounge by Mark Bibbins, published by Graywolf Press, May 2003. Copyright © 2003 by Mark Bibbins. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved.

From Sky Lounge by Mark Bibbins, published by Graywolf Press, May 2003. Copyright © 2003 by Mark Bibbins. Reprinted by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved.

Mark Bibbins

Mark Bibbins, born in Albany, New York, in 1968, received his BA at Hunter College and his MFA at The New School in Manhattan, where he has lived since 1991.

by this poet

poem
Your object will have made a good subject
and I should get to tell you so: the bird 
with a beak but no mouth, we hear him only

when it's night in the Dominican Republic
and Israel at the same time. Someone will 
find your marginalia useful, so try to spare

some ink. I took dictation only from you, 
for whom
poem
Whatever the lesson was, it wasn't
taking. We awaited the information
in kind of a corporate way
and I kept wanting to go up
to the whiteboard and write
FEMININE MARVELOUS AND TOUGH
and ask Is that what you're trying
to do. Sometimes it's hard to figure
out how to move. When cardinals 
move, they're as imposing
poem

A bag of thank-you notes fell
on me and that was enough
art for one day. Culturally speaking,
it was more like a year
in the floral trenches, kicked off
with a single boneless kiss.
Poor sad demon in his poor dead tree—
or is it he who pities me, cockshy
quasihero with a