Meet Mark Gibbons, Montana's new Poet Laureate

Anna Paige

Mark Gibbons grew up in a poetic household, one where poems were the harsh narratives of a working class family. He describes his parents as painfully honest … to a fault.

“With my old man, if you were acting like a bully or taking advantage of someone, he would call you out,” said Gibbons of his father, Vincent, a railroad worker and son of Irish and German emigrants who was conceived in Ireland and born in Butte.

“Being who he was, he understood class discrimination. He was poor and radical as hell. He wasn’t a poet, but if he turned on you and wanted to correct your bulls**t, it sounded like a hell of a goddamn poem.”

Gibbons, like his father, has a frothy mouth and isn’t afraid to call it like he sees it. The first college graduate in his family, Gibbons spent most of his youth in the small railroad town of Alberton, 30 miles northwest of Missoula.

“I am a product of where I came from, which is my parents and my upbringing. How I looked at the world, I felt that injustice was something that needed to be addressed in everything that happened.”

In September, Gibbons

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