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Mark Bibbins delivers ‘unsafe’ poetry

English professor Catie Rosemurgy introduced poet Mark Bibbins as “dangerous.”

“So the question on all your minds must be,” she said, “what is so dangerous about Mark Bibbins?”

According to Rosemurgy, Bibbins’ poetry is challenging. “The predictable assurances of time and space, of a kind god in his heaven, of a noble and reliable self, of feeling at all O.K. the next day, are conspicuously missing from his poetry,” Rosemurgy said.

“In his poems,” she added, “everyone is a part of an endless American city in which we have become old enough to know better but not old enough to settle down.” To her, that is what makes Bibbins’ poetry great.

“Actually, he is a wonderful guy,” Rosemurgy said, “but his poems are unsafe.”

Bibbins began his reading with a poem by Alley Sheedy. “I am not a cornchip I tell her, and I’m not,” Bibbins read aloud. The crowd chuckled at the poet’s sarcastic wit.

He went on to recite a number of original poems from his first full-length collection, “Sky Lounge.”

Bibbins lives in New York City where he teaches writing workshops at The New School. He has appeared in several journals including Poetry, Boston Review and The Yale Review.

Bibbins drew a large crowd at the Kendall Hall Black Box theater, sharing some of his greatest pieces of work, including “Fledglings,” “Groupie” and “Jersey,” among many others.

Bibbins said he had felt honored to have such a big audience.

“In New York, there are a lot more options,” Bibbins said. “People are a little more jaded so they don’t get out to the readings ’cause there are too many other things to do. Theater, movies.”

Bibbins was invited to speak as a part of the Visiting Writers Series, a student-run program committed to expanding the campus literary community. As a main part of the program, nationally acclaimed authors are invited to the College to read their work and share their experiences as writers.

Many of the students involved in the program said they loved the readings and were glad they got a chance to see Bibbins express himself through his poetry.

“As a part of the Community of Writers class, it was really nice to see such a wonderful crowd come out tonight,” Jennifer Rock, sophomore English major, said. “I think there was a great outcome, and I hope more students continue to share in these experiences with us because they are exhilarating and fun.”

In every line of poetry that he read, Bibbins let a bit of his passion spill over into the audience, leaving everyone speechless.

“Mark Bibbins was like an M80 under water,” Eric Conrad, senior English major, said.


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