Tim Seibles


Tim Seibles is an American poet and educator from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Born to an English teacher mother and a biochemist father who ensured their children were educated and carried themselves with pride, Seibles was drawn to reading at a young age—particularly Greek mythology and science fiction—as well as sports. In high school, he dreamed of being a professional football player who would write novels during the offseason, forever balancing the physical and philosophical. While he did initially attend Southern Methodist University for its football program, by the time he earned his BA he was fully dedicated to poetry. He would spend the next 10 years teaching high school English before earning his MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and publishing his earliest collections. The mood of Seibles’s writing oscillates from serious to sarcastic, dancing between themes like race, class tension, sex, and sports. He is a National Book Award-nominated author of eight collections of poetry and was the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2016 to 2018. He currently resides in Virginia and continues to teach literature in Old Dominion University’s MFA program.

All the Time Blues Villanelle

Hard to watch somebody lose their mind

Maybe everybody should just go get stoned

My father said it happens all the time


I knew a woman lost her to soul to wine

But who doesn’t live with their life on loan?

Shame to watch somebody lose their mind


Don’tchu gotta wonder when people say they’re fine?

Given what we’re given, I guess they actin grown

I think I used to say that  all the time


When my parents died, I coined a little shrine

And thought about all the stuff they used to own

Felt like I was gonna lose my mind


Used to have a friend who smiled all the time

Then he started sayin he could hear the devil moan

Hate to see a brotha lose his [  ] mind


Doesn’t matter how you pull, the hours break the line

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, how come nobody’s home?

Broke my soul for real, when my mother lost her mind


Tried to keep my head right, but sanity’s a climb

Been workin on the straight face—I guess my cover’s blown

My father tried to tell me all the time


Had one last question, baby, but maybe never mind

After’while, even springtime starts to drone


Hard to see somebody lose their mind

My pop said, “Boy, it happens all the time”





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:



Mental Health

Poetic Form

Literary Devices:

Slant Rhyme

A rhyme where the words have similar sounds in their stressed syllables.


a nineteen-line poem with two rhymes throughout, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain, with the first and third lines of the opening tercet recurring alternately at the end of the other tercets and with both repeated at the close of the concluding quatrain