Synopses & Reviews
Honored as a "Best Poetry Book of the Year" by Publishers Weekly
"The book's a little crazy, packed with air quotes and brackets, jokes and condemnations, forms that explode across the page. Crazily enough, it's also packed with truth.”NPR
The voice of this third book from Bibbins is marked and numbed by the onslaught of American media and politics that saturate the Internet, television, radio, and smartphone: the way things are going, children/ will have to upgrade to more amusing. Much like advertisements or news stories vying for viewers attention, the book intentionally overwhelms, eschewing sections; the author instead differentiates the poems by repetition, creating a sort of echo chamber, similar to the way viral information cycles through social media platforms.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
"[A] hilarious send-up of contemporary values and an alarm bell of sorts, directing attention to all that is so sinister in our civilization.”American Poets
"Whip-smart and wickedly funny, They Don't Kill You is Bibbins's most authoritative and self-possessed collection to date."Boston Review
The poems in Mark Bibbins's breakthrough third book are formally innovative and socially alert. Roving across the weird human landscape of modern politics, media-exacerbated absurdity, and questionable social conventions, this collection counters dread with wit, chaos with clarity, and reminds us that suffering is "small//compared to what?"
Mark Bibbins teaches in the graduate writing programs at The New School and Columbia University, and edits the poetry section of The Awl. He lives in New York City.
"The voice of this third book from Bibbins (The Dance of No Hard Feelings) is marked and numbed by the onslaught of American media and politics that saturate the Internet, television, radio, and smartphone: 'the way things are going, children/ will have to upgrade to more amusing.' Much like advertisements or news stories vying for viewer's attention, the book intentionally overwhelms, eschewing sections; the author instead differentiates the poems by repetition, creating a sort of echo chamber, similar to the way viral information cycles through social media platforms. In one of his six deliciously vicious 'Pat Robertson Transubstantiation Engine' poems, he writes, 'O heavenly/ flogger you should be watching me/ on cable right now.' Other poems are marked by a charming self-consciousness: 'Maybe certain poets should have breathalyzers/ connected to their computers or typewriters or hands/ so they can't do what I'm doing right now to this poem.' But Bibbins really shines when he addresses the immediate from a different space. His eight-part poem 'Medusa' is deft and haunting. Written without fanfare, the images reflect contemporary American violence: 'There are/ as many bodies in the palace/ moat they are their own/ country, even if their shapes are no longer theirs.'" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Bibbins's poems contain an exhilarating range of references, from Dr. Dre and Pat Robertson to Henry Fonda and Buzz Aldrin.
About the Author
Mark Bibbins is the author of The Dance of No Hard Feelings; The Anxiety of Coincidence,
a digital-only chapbook; and Sky Lounge,
which received a Lambda Literary Award. He teaches in the graduate writing programs at The New School, where he co-founded LIT
magazine, and at Columbia University. Bibbins is the editor of the poetry section of The Awl
and the recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in poetry. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, Boston Review, Tin House, The Best American Poetry,
and Legitimate Dangers: American Poets of the New Century.