Ask questions. Don’t ask too many questions (i.e., don’t be a pest, lest someone smother you with squeak-grease). Read things you like. Read things you don’t like. Then read more things you like. Go find Kenneth Koch’s poem “The Art of Poetry,” which is full of better advice than I usually have, and read that. Appear to be patient, even if you’re not.
Mark Bibbins was born in 1968 in Albany, New York, received his MFA from The New School, and has lived in New York City since 1991. A founding editor of the journal LIT,he has taught at SUNY-Purchase, and now teaches in The New School’s MFA program. Individual poems have appeared in Boston Review, Colorado Review, The Paris Review, Poetry, The Yale Review and elsewhere, including the anthologies T he Best American Poetry 2004 andGreat American Prose Poems.Bibbins received a Lambda Literary Award for his collection of poems Sky Lounge (Graywolf, 2003), and was awarded a 2005 Poetry Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts. His most recent poetry collection The Dance of No Hard Feelings (Copper Canyon Press) came out this year.
from “When It Was Always Dark” by Mark Bibbins
Even porch lights that made gold of the grass
and those birds that stitched across the moon—
not birds, something else.
No, do not think angels.
Fireflies, hands over flashlights—who wants them now?
And what could shine its way again,
so easily, through these fingers?
Go to the Cortland Review to read the rest of this great poem.