Mark Gibbons grew up in a small Milwaukee 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. Eventually, he earned BAs in English & Psychology, along with an MFA in creative writing from the University of Montana, over the course of twenty-five years.
Mark’s grandparents arrived in America a century ago from Ireland and Germany. His father, conceived in Galway, was born in Butte, Montana, one month to the day after his great uncle was killed there in a mining disaster. The first college graduate in his family, Mark boasts a work resume that most “western stickers” (those determined to stay in Montana at all costs) know all too well: dishwasher, janitor, carpenter, wood cutter, gandy dancer, surveyor, fire fighter, furniture mover, laborer, truck driver, and teacher.
In 1970, Mark was in a poetry workshop at his high school taught by an unknown Indian poet, James Welch. A student of Richard Hugo’s, (Sir James) Welch (acclaimed author of Fool’s Crow, Winter in the Blood, The Death of Jim Loney, and Killing Custer) gave Mark permission to write poetry in his own voice from his own life experiences. He’s been writing ever since. His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies. His first chapbook of poems, Something Inside Us, was self published in 1995, and a second, Circling Home, won the Scattered Cairns Press chapbook competition in 1999. Connemara Moonshine, the first full length collection of his poetry, was published in 2002 by Camphorweed Press, followed by blue horizon in 2007 from Two Dogs Press. War, Madness, & Love, a collaborative collection of poems with Appalachian poet Michael Revere appeared in 2008, R & R Publishing. Mauvaises Herbes (Weeds), a bilingual translation of his poems into French, was published in 2009 by PROPOS2 editions, France. Forgotten Dreams, 2012, and Shadowboxing, 2014, are available from Foothills Publishing www.foothillspublishing.com.
Mark established Blind Horses Press in 2011 and is currently working on editing and publishing a collection of six poets. He lives in Missoula with his wife, Pam, and their two cats, where he teaches poetry for The Missoula Writing Collaborative, The Montana Arts Council, and The 406 Writers’ Workshop.