Two of Missoula’s best-known poets, Mark Gibbons and David E. Thomas, will read from new and collected works on Tuesday, June 19, at Livingston’s Elk River Books.
Gibbons grew up in a small railroad town in western Montana where he listened to records, played sports, and married his high school sweetheart. He began reading Brautigan, Bukowski, Kerouac and the Beats, and was first inspired to write poetry in a workshop with James Welch. He holds an MFA in creative writing from University of Montana and is the author of several full-length collections of poetry, most recently The Imitation Blues from Foothills Publishing. He is the founder of Blind Horses Press, and is currently editing Ed Lahey’s posthumous collection, Moving On–Last Poems.
Melissa Kwasny, author of The Nine Senses, describes Gibbons as “our Western, working class Dionysus, shouting his rage at injustice, his drunken song of the heart, questioning poetry and its use, slamming it, seeing what it can stand up to, what can and can’t be wrung from it.”
Thomas grew up on the Hi-Line, graduated from the University of Montana then found himself on the streets of San Francisco where he began his literary education. Economic realities drove him to work on railroad gangs and on construction projects like the Libby Dam. The author of several books of poems, Thomas has been published in anthologies including The Last Best Place, Poems across the Big Sky and New Poets of the American West, and periodicals including Blue Collar Review and the Cedilla literary journal. His essay “Gothic Days” appears in The Complete Montana Gothic, which also features Thomas’s earliest published work. His latest book is The Old Power Company Road.
Roger Dunsmore, author of You’re Just Dirt, calls Thomas “a Montana original, a gift from the Hi-line … in love with the grime and sweat of work done outdoors. He easily reminds us of an older, truer Montana alive in his sure-footed, hard-earned poems.”
The free event begins at 7 p.m. upstairs at Elk River Books, 120 N. Main St. in Livingston, and will be followed by a book signing and reception. For more information, call 333-2330.