Tim Seibles is an extraordinary poet and dynamic reader. He has been honored with many grants and awards, including an Open Voice Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center.

Born in Philadelphia in 1955 to a high school English teacher and a biochemist for the Department of Agriculture, Seibles’s love for Greek and Roman mythology and dreams of writing science fiction novels were balanced by a driving ambition to become a professional football player. Drawn to Southern Methodist University for football, he found his way to poetry there as an undergraduate; then, after a decade in Dallas teaching high school English, he cashed in his pension and went on to take an MFA in creative writing at Vermont College. One of his early teachers, Jack Myers, proclaimed Seibles “a natural, gliding up in long sleek poems, crooning the creamy and glamorous politics of need.”

Seibles’s streetwise, syncopated poems zero in on such wide-ranging subjects as basketball, sex, dogs, race in America, and the inner thoughts of cartoon characters. As “This is not a poetry of a highfalutin violin nor the somber cello,” wrote Sandra Cisneros, “but a melody you heard somewhere that followed you home.” Reginald McKnight testifies, “...you'll at times feel bruised, at times made love to. I read a lot of poetry. I've never read poetry like this.” Seibles moves, as he says, “between the polarities of delight and rage.”

In addition to his five books of poetry, most recently Hammerlock (1999), Seibles’s poems have appeared widely in journals such as The Kenyon Review and Black American Literary Forum, as well as in the anthologies Outsiders, Verse and Universe, In Search of Color Everywhere, A Way Out of No Way, and New American Poets in the 90’s.

Seibles lives in eastern Virginia, where he teaches in the MFA Program at Old Dominion University.


Poems by Tim Seibles

Each Letter


The Caps on Backward




    Poetry Center Reading:
    Spring 2004 (with Honoree Fannone Jeffers)