From staff to students, there are many poets who call UMBC home. Tim Seibles, a professor at Old Dominion University, joined the UMBC poetry community. In addition to his professorship at Old Dominion, Seibles is a National Book Award Finalist and winner of the Theodore Roethke Prize and is also the Poet Laureate of the state of Virginia and it is no wonder why. To celebrate his visit to the campus, the English department hosted a poetry reading for Seibles in The Gallery of the Albin O. Kuhn library.
His poetry is funny, accessible and raw. Seibles uses images from The Road Runner cartoon, his family life growing up, his love life and even ants, among many other aspects of his life to drive home the message of his poems.
In the second stanza of his poem, “Ode To Your Father,” Sables remarked, “When he yelled at you,/you probably heard/his father yelling at him,/though you couldn’t/recognize the flat “don’t/talk back” settled beneath/his voice like a big bass/at the bottom of a lake.”
The image of Seibles’ father stands as a symbol of everyone’s father. It is Seibles’ use of images, like this one, which makes his poetry so relatable and poignant.
As he read his poetry, Seibles’ smooth voice carried throughout the library gallery, embracing an audience compromised of students and professors alike with many lines in his poetry elicited laughs from the audience.
Beyond his captivating poetry, Seibles himself is a warm being. After the reading, he had personal conversations, signed books and even hugged some especially enthusiastic audience members.
April is National Poetry Month and the perfect excuse to grab a new poetry book (if you really need an excuse to read poetry). You can find “Ode To Your Father” and many other remarkable pieces in Seibles’ latest poetry collection, “One Turn Around The Sun.”