13th Balloon
In his fourth collection, 13th Balloon, Mark Bibbins turns his candid eye to the American AIDS crisis. With quiet consideration and dark wit, Bibbins addresses the majority of his poems to Mark Crast, his friend and lover who died from AIDS at the early age of 25. Every broken line and startling linguistic turn grapples with the genre of elegy: what does it mean to experience personal loss, Bibbins seems to ask, amidst a greater societal tragedy? The answer is blurred—amongst unforeseen disease, intolerance, and the intimate consequences of mismanaged power. Perhaps the most unanswerable question arrives when Bibbins writes, "For me elegy/ is like a Ouija planchette/ something I can barely touch/ as I try to make it/ say what I want it to say." And while we are still searching for the words that might begin an answer, Bibbins helps us understand that there is endless value in continuing—through both joy and grief—to wonder.

13th Balloon Details

Title13th Balloon
Author
ReleaseFeb 11th, 2020
PublisherCopper Canyon Press
ISBN-139781556595776
Rating
GenrePoetry, GLBT, Queer, LGBT, Gay, Autobiography, Memoir

13th Balloon Review

  • Basia
    January 1, 1970
    This book made my heart drop many times, but also picked it back up and coaxed it to go on, refueled by glimpses of humor and wonder that often populate the plane of grief. Still, Bibbins is careful to never gloss over or disguise the unsightliness of the injustice that created many of this poem's circumstances, resulting in an essential, elegy-transcending work.
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  • Erik
    January 1, 1970
    A new poem by Mark Bibbins, "13th Balloon," follows his reflections on the loss of his partner to AIDS more than 25 years in the past. Disjointed and fluid, each stanza is an attempt by Bibbins to piece together what he lost when his partner died, and, as a result, each line feels a bit like sand falling through your fingers at the beach as you feel him trying to reconnect with the presence he lost to the past. Parts discussion on loss and commentary on the AIDS crisis, the poem doesn't shy away A new poem by Mark Bibbins, "13th Balloon," follows his reflections on the loss of his partner to AIDS more than 25 years in the past. Disjointed and fluid, each stanza is an attempt by Bibbins to piece together what he lost when his partner died, and, as a result, each line feels a bit like sand falling through your fingers at the beach as you feel him trying to reconnect with the presence he lost to the past. Parts discussion on loss and commentary on the AIDS crisis, the poem doesn't shy away from the personal or the political.Longform and connected, each page shines a quick flash of light onto what it means to lose someone physically but carry them with you into your own future, and it reveals the responsibility we bear for remembering, as clearly as we can (and as impossible the task) those we lost. Pick up a copy of the book when it releases in February. You won't regret it.
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  • Matthew
    January 1, 1970
    With such an aching pain this poem floats on humor and anger and confusion and love. I was carried away. And in the end, a sudden burst.
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