Here's our review of Fast Animal by Tim Seibles.

Welcome to OCN's Virginia Book Club! Join us each month as we read a book that is either set in Virginia or written by one of our very own Virginia authors! We'll reveal the book on the first Thursday of the month on OCN and then review the book on the last Thursday of the month. Join the discussion in the comments! It’s online, it’s free, and it’s fun!

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April Selection:

Fast Animal | by Tim Seibles

So, a month ago, I told you that I was not a big poetry person. All of that has changed now, thanks to Fast Animal. The book is made up of four sections and consists of 36 poems that range from existentialism, relationships, sorrow, and faith. 

I had the honor of meeting Mr. Seibles while I was at Old Dominion University this month, and I asked him some questions about Fast Animal. I asked him what his inspirations were for the book and what he was trying to communicate to his readers through his poetry.

"Fast Animal really began as a book in which I was looking at significant memories of my teenage years -- in most cases, memories of a burgeoning sense of sexuality," he said. "Then a quiet obsession with Blade, The Vampire Slayer, took hold of me. It struck me that Blade was the perfect foil for the poems of teenage innocence. Blade is a hardened soldier of a perpetual war against evil. He became an avatar for my own sense of being embattled by various wrongs in American society ... The odes and villanelles, I hope, widen and deepen the book's concerns."

As I mentioned in the debut, Mr. Seibles grew up in Philadelphia during his teenage years, and although not every reader of his book can say the same thing about their history, they can understand, through his poems, what it was like to experience life the way he did. There are five poems in Fast Animal about Blade, The Vampire Slayer, that flow with the theme of growth throughout the book.

Every single poem was moving; all 36 of them are beautifully pieced together and flow well. Some of my personal favorites were Wound, What, Ode to My Hands, Faith, and From Darkness. I did happen to find a clip of Tim Seibles reading his poem Wound from Fast Animal, and it helped me personally connect to the writing even more.

Now that I've read Fast Animal, I have a new-found love for poetry. Hopefully, you will too! Give it a shot and let us know how you feel about Fast Animal and other poetry you've read.

Things to consider while reading:

1. Have you read Tim Seibles' works before? If so, which ones?

In my case, I had not read any of his work before, but I had heard a lot about him.

2. Are you a poetry person?

I feel like I have perceived that people can either be die-hard poetry fans or they do not appreciate poetry at all. Am I wrong? I want to be wrong. Are there people out there that are comfortably chill with both poetry and prose?

3. Have you ever been to a live reading from an author or a performer? Was it Tim Seibles?

In my case, I had never officially seen Mr. Seibles read his poetry. However, I have seen other poets read their work; Mahogany Brown was a powerful reader.

Did you read Fast Animal with us in April? Roll call! Let us know in the comments! We want to get to know you!

As always, if you have a favorite Virginia author or a great book that’s set in the area, comment away, or send us an email! We’re always looking to discover new and wonderful writers!