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13TH BALLOON (Mark Bibbins)

Article Type: 
13th Balloon Cover Image
ISBN: 9781556595776
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - February 11th, 2020

In his fourth book of poetry, Mark Bibbins documents the life of a close friend and their battle with AIDS during New York in the 1980’s and 90’s. Composed as one long poem, the work breaks in elegiac sequences, threaded with anecdotes both bleak and humorous. Bibbins references Mary Jo Bang’s prize-winning collection ELEGY as a foundation for his own: “Come on stage and be yourself, / The elegist says to the dead.” And we’re soon immersed in the self of Bibbin’s companion as lines unravel and sculpt a concrete grief. Consider the opening of the book, “As a house burns sparks / land on the roofs / of houses nearby / Some of them will also burn / Some of them will not.” It is with this precision and at times deceptive plainness that powers 13TH BALLOON forward. A book meant to be read in one sitting. Surely to be one of the best of the year.