Synopses & Reviews
2012 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry
Crisply comic,disarmingly frank, and aurally bold
This collection by African American poet Tim Seibles explores a range of poetic form, including lyric, ode, narrative, and mystical. Like a "fast animal," the poet's voice can swiftly change direction and tone as he crisscrosses between present and past.
Built like one single sustained song, Fast Animal is alive with music, ardor, and wit that flow in utterances that are uniquely [Seibles'] and his alone."Laure-Anne Bosselaar, author of The Hour Between
From "Delores Jepps"
It seems insane now, but
shed be standing soaked
in schoolday morning light,
her loose-leaf notebook,
flickering at the bus stop,
and we almost trembled
at the thought of her mouth
filled for a moment with both
of our short names. I dont know
what we saw when we saw
her face, but at fifteen theres
so much left to believe in
Tim Seibles, who teaches at Old Dominion University, is the author of six previous books, including Body Moves and Hurdy-Gurdy. His poetry has been featured in Best American Poetry 2010. Seibles has been the recipient of an NEA grant for poetry and Open Voice award.
"Philosophy and literary analysis, verse sequences, abstract speculation, and wisdom in prose reinforce one another in this uneven, perhaps overlong, but intellectually stimulating book of Hix's thoughts about poetry and the other arts, his first collection of any kind since First Fire, Then Birds. 'Creation of stories or poems/ is not confined to the moment of writing, but goes on/ continually,' Hix explains in quiet syllabics, one of a few long works devoted to the teaching of writing. These can drag, or feel too much like lectures; one is, and feels like, a lecture to M.F.A. students at the University of Wyoming, where Hix teaches. But the collection picks up energy when Hix gets polemical; embraced early on by so-called New Formalists, Hix devotes 'Ninety-Five Theses' to an attack on their premises ('All poetry is formal. Ã¢Â€Â˜Formal poetry' resembles Ã¢Â€Â˜musical song.'Â '). Forty-nine unrhymed sonnets, each one a response to a prior sonnet (by Shakespeare, Keats, Ivor Gurney, Laura Jensen, and others), explore theories of sonnet history, sonnet form; shorter takes on contemporary painting and drawing reflect Hix's earlier career as a teacher of writing and humanities in art schools. Two interviews let Hix describe the overarching projects in his other books, e.g., 'the modest task of rewriting the Bible.' Best of all are 'Letters to Jan Zwicky,' the speculative, compressed, and abstract stanzas on religion, self-sacrifice, and aesthetics, to which Hix gives pride of place: 'I may be alone in the world,' Hix concludes, 'that others may/ live in another world than mine.'" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Tim Seibles chronicles his evolution from innocence to adulthood in Fast Animal
…[E]ach experience is keenly observed and shapes his growing sense of identity and an exquisite awareness of the things all humans share.”
—Elizabeth Lund, The Washington Post
In this nimble, turbulent collection, one of America's foremost African American poets probes the skin between childhood and adulthood.
About the Author
Tim Seibles is an American poet born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He earned his BA from Southern Methodist University and his MFA from Vermont College. Currently he teaches English and creative writing at Old Dominion University in Virginia. He also teaches in the Stonecoast MFA Program in Creative Writing, and at Cave Canem Foundation.
Seibles received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and was honored with the Open Voice Award.
His poems have been published in literary journals and anthologies such as The Kenyon Review and Ploughshares, and New American Poets in the 90's.