Tim Seibles

Tim Seibles was born in Philadelphia 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 two chapbooks and seven poetry collections: Voodoo Libretto: New & Selected Poems (Etruscan Press, 2022); One Turn Around the Sun (Etruscan Press, 2017); Fast Animal (Etruscan Press, 2012), a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award and a winner of both the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Poetry; Buffalo Head Solos (Cleveland State University Press, 2004); Hammerlock (Cleveland State University Press, 1999); Hurdy-Gurdy (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1992); and Body Moves (Corona Press, 1988).

Most recently, Tim has written poems for two monuments—one in Norfolk, Virginia, dedicated to the Norfolk 17, a group of African American students who began the process of integrating Virginia’s public schools, and another for an installation in Dallas that addresses the many race-based lynchings that took place there. 

Seibles’s poems have appeared in numerous anthologies, including This is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets (Little, Brown, 2024), edited by Kwame Alexander; Uncommon Core: Contemporary Poems for Learning and Living (Red Beard Press, 2014); Villanelles (Everyman’s Library, 2012); Seriously Funny: Poems About Love, Death, Religion, Art, Politics, Sex, and Everything Else (University of Georgia Press, 2010), edited by Barbara Hamby and David Kirby; and In Search of Color Everywhere: A Collection of African American Poetry (Harry N. Abrams, 1994), edited by E. Ethelbert Miller. Seibles’s poems have also been featured in Best American Poetry 2010, 2013, and 2023.

In the citation for the 2012 National Book Awards, the National Book Foundation notes, “Tim Seibles’s 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.”

Seibles’s other awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. 

Seibles was the poet laureate of Virginia from 2016 to 2018. He also served as a professor of English at Old Dominion University for more than twenty years before retiring. He lives in Norfolk.