Montana Public Radio

'Mostly Cloudy' With Mark Gibbons

Jun 18, 2020

Mark Gibbons “tells the truth and tells it straight,” according to author Melissa Stephenson. In this interview, Mark delivers this trademark approach to life while reading from his new collection, Mostly Cloudy. Like his poetry, Mark is irreverent and deeply sentimental. Together, we covered the topics of rock 'n' roll, work, love, and death. Though Mark was just down the road in his Missoula, MT home, we spoke via phone to maintain social distance. 

Mostly Cloudy

To listen to the interview with Mark Gibbons about his collection of poetry, Mostly Cloudy, click to listen now or subscribe to our podcast. 

About the Book:

Good poems speak to us with rhythmic lyrics that allow us into the personal experiences and perspectives of the poet while examining topics of universal importance so we readers reexamine our own individual acts and reactions through similar yet different circumstances.  A skilled poet writes good poetry consistently. Mark Gibbons has written good poems for many years as his ten published books attest. In mostly cloudy, his most recent from FootHills Publishing, he lets us into his personal space with poems like “First Date, “a love poem to his wife, or “Secrets, “where we join the poet under the crawlspace of his childhood home and share his burden of dealing with and loving an alcoholic father.

In a bit over 90 pages of poetry, Gibbons introduces us to the musicians and poets who influence not only his poems but his life, and to his friends, living and dead, their power and their flaws. His are the poems of a working man, aware of his predicament and of the brevity of life. Here is the beginning of “Old School,” i’ll drink anything/ but i buy cheap canned beer/ fix my mower/ with a coat hanger/start and stop it with the choke/ . . .  Gibbons' poems are an examination of self, but note that he doesn’t capitalize the “i.” He explores the world we live in, its injustices and its joys, trying to define and understand his place, his role in that world. As he ages, Gibbons knows his role as poet; he is a singer of the blues, both the musical genre he admires, and the plight of the working man in an unfair world. He understands both the power and limitations of poetry. His songs run the gamut from love to genocide. You won’t read mostly cloudy without reexamining your own place in this vale of tears, and it is a sure bet that you will find things to love.

Mark Gibbons
Credit Chris La Tray

About the Author:

Mark Gibbons' is the author of ten collections of poetry.  His latest, mostly cloudy, is his fourth book from Foothills Publishing. In 2018-19 Gibbons edited two poetry collections for Drumlummon Institute, Moving On: The Last Poems of Ed Lahey and Summer Lightning, poems by Marylor Wilson. He is a 2013 recipient of the Artist Innovation Award from the Montana Arts Council and has worked with MAC advising Poetry Out Loud, the national recitation competition, since its inception. Gibbons lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife, Pam, and their two cats, where he continues to teach.