Welcome to the Virginia Book Club!

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!

April's Book:

Fast Animal | by Tim Seibles

For our first Virginia selection, we chose Fast Animal, the work of a contemporary author and recent poet laureate (2016-2018) of Virginia, Tim Seibles.  

Courtesy of Amazon.com

Fast Animal is a collection of poetry that focuses on love and identity. Published in 2012, it was one of the National Book Award Finalists.

April feels like the perfect time for poetry, doesn't it? The weather is getting nicer outside, and beach season is almost upon us. This book is perfect for a reflective read in the garden or a lazy afternoon within view of the ocean. 

A little bit about the author:

Tim Seibles was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and currently lives in Norfolk, Virginia. He is part of the English Department's MFA program at Old Dominion University and enjoys teaching creative writing when he is not writing poetry. He has several other books published such as Hammerlock and One Turn Around the Sun

Why I chose this book:

I have to be honest with you: I am not usually a poetry fanatic. I am a fiction/non-fiction reader. But I have been dipping my toe into the poetry pool occasionally just to try it out. Now before anyone gets upset, let me explain why I am not a big poetry person: I am a hungry reader. This means two things -- I love to eat while I read, and I always want more from a book/poem. (Just kidding, I don't always eat when I read.)

But every time I read a book, I want more. Even if it's 700+ pages, I always want a sequel or a prequel. So when I tried poetry out for the first time, I was sad that there wasn't more to the story. But it is not like I can resurrect William Blake and say, "Where is the next verse to 'The Tyger'? Isn't there more?" That would just be rude. 

So along with our lovely Virginia Book Club members, I am starting out on this poetry adventure one more time in hopes that my selfishness will not get the better of me. Now, if there are more people like me, I might be able to help adapt to the poetry world with two words: reading aloud. Whether it's spouting poetry to the dust bunnies under the bed, attending a live reading, or looking up a clip on YouTube of the author reading their own, I have found that aloud readings breathe life into poetry for someone who is not feeling connected quite yet.

How to find this book:

Where can this book be found? You can buy it here on Amazon.com for less than $15. It is also at Barnes and Noble as well if a fellow book lover just needs an excuse to drop by a brick-and-mortar bookstore. You could also check it out at your local library. 

Things to consider while reading:

1. Have you read Tim Seible's works before? If so, which ones? in my case, I have not read any of his work before, but I have heard a lot about him.

2. Are you a poetry person? If so, show us your ways. If not, I totally get it, but let us change that. 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 have never officially seen Mr. Seibles read his poetry. I was once invited to come to a reading by him, but I wasn't able to attend. I do plan to see him read one day. However, I have seen other poets read their work; Mahogany Brown was a powerful reader.

Come back by on April 25 for my thoughts on Fast Animal by Tim Seibles.

**Featured image of Tim Seibles, courtesy of Jennifer Fish, via newsadvance.com

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