When I was 16, I moved clear across the country to help mend my grandmother and find a new way a being. I loved books more than boys and bought dozens of old paperbacks at thrift stores near my grandmother's house. I spent hours in her back room or in my Aunt Carolyn's bay window discovering princes and poets, humanity's horror and happenstance. This is the way I found Tim Seibles. His book, Hurdy-Gurdy, fell into my heart and hands and I was hammered by its deft music. I remember, so clearly, reading the poem "Trying for Fire" sitting up in my bed and feeling a little faint, a little dizzy. My head was blaring, heart banging, I couldn't breathe. I'd never had that kind of reaction to anything (the closest visceral, gut reaction before then had come from music), certainly no book, and I'd read plenty by then--many that I loved beyond telling--but none moved me like the work of Tim Seibles in that moment.
Years later, after I sought him out and followed him (and a boy) to ODU then weaseled my way onto his advisees list so I could sit in his office and marvel once each term, he told me I was a poet, and that this poet's life was possible, even in a stark and dire world. He sent me to Cave Canem (praise be), then to Bennington, then eventually back to Etruscan Press. He has colored so much of the timeline in my life and I am so grateful to know him this morning and know that now (finally) a great many others will love his fire, too. He is, indeed, a Fast Animal, a brilliant mind, an open eye and heart.