Sep 18, 2016
Congratulations to Tim Seibles, former faculty at The Frost Place, who has been named Poet Laureate of Virginia. From The Virginia Pilot . . .
“The tall, silver-bearded man in a wheat-colored fedora and seafoam-green T-shirt is hard to miss, seated at a corner table with a small stack of books, a thick notebook, a rain-splattered umbrella and a sleek Apple MacBook before him. An award-winning poet and English professor at Old Dominion University, Seibles checks emails and works on new poems in the quiet coffee shop. His notes in ink and pencil meander around slim columns of typewritten words.
A long poem in progress, which addresses, among other things, police violence against people of color, may fit into the scope of subjects he hopes to explore in his new position as poet laureate of Virginia.
. . .
“I started trying, mind you, to be a poet when I was 19, so that’s been 42 years ago,” Seibles says. “What happens, at least for me, is your expectations of your work keep getting higher and higher. You know more about writing, and you know more about other poets. You have this immense library in your head. In terms of revision, it takes longer because you realize there’s more possible.”
The process is, in part, philosophical.
“You get older and you realize that it doesn’t make any sense to rush something if it’s not going to be done as well as it needs to be done,” Seibles says. “You take as long as you need. I’m more meticulous now.”
He also prefers to use simple words, the better to engage a range of readers and make his work accessible.
“You want poetry to be a communal thing,” Seibles says. “In my work I want brotherly verse as opposed to scholarly verse. Anyone who’s literate should be able to understand what you’re trying to get at in the poem.”