Mark BibbinsMark Bibbins

What’s the best thing about sleeping with a poet?
Good books next to the bed.

People always joke that the phrase "let me read you some of my poetry" is the best way to lose a girl. Why is that? How can I use my poetry to seduce someone?
It may be an even better way to lose a guy, but never mind. It depends on the poems, and on the girl, right? It’s as unrealistic to say that there’s a poet inside us all as it is to say there’s an architect inside us all: “Why can’t I make a building?” isn’t a question you would ask if you studied marine biology. And serenading a date with a saxophone probably won’t go well if you’ve never taken a lesson.

I’ve written a love poem for my friend, who has no idea I’m interested in her.  I want to give it to her for her upcoming birthday but I’m afraid that might be coming on too strong.  What should I do? 
Now I’m wondering about the differences between a “love poem” and an “interested poem.” If you’re worried about coming on too strong, maybe start out with one of the latter and see how that goes. If you show her something, do it before (or after) the birthday, then your intentions will be clear— no ambiguity about it being a “birthday poem.”

This guy I’ve been dating is a writer and things have really been going well between us. The problem is that he showed me some of his work last week and I didn’t know how to react — it was terrible! I know it’s a huge part of his life, so I lied and said I liked it. Is this a dealbreaker? I can’t lie forever. 
If his last three books got raves in the Times, there’s a chance you need to cut him some slack. Are you more concerned that you don’t like his writing, or that you lied to spare his feelings? Is he being honest with himself when he says he’s a writer? Joan Cusack has a great line in Working Girl: “Sometimes I sing and dance around the house in my underwear. Doesn’t make me Madonna. Never will.”

My girlfriend wants to cut her hair short, but I really like ladies with long hair. I know it's ultimately her decision, but I think as her boyfriend I should have some say. Am I being a controlling prick? 
Your say ends at “I think you look so beautiful with long hair.” Until she cuts it off, then keep your say to yourself.

I have trouble speaking to women in bars. A simple "hello" always feels abrupt, and yet most "lines" are cheesy. Any advice for how to get things started? 
Humor is one of the best ice-breakers we have, and something amusing is bound to happen in a room full of drunk people that you could use to start a conversation with someone, instead of a “line.”  

I'm a self-described feminist who just got out of a relationship. I've been dating again, and I always end up feeling a little offended when a guy asks me out and doesn't pay. I know that sounds hypocritical – and it's not like I don't have a job – but I can't help it. Can you believe in "equal rights" and still want a guy to buy you drinks?
There’s nothing wrong with splitting the bill, but whatever the gender(s), if you ask someone on a date, you should offer to pay.

If The Ezra Pound was a sex position, what would it be?
It would last longer than it should, you’d never know what’s going on, and it would get you thrown in an asylum.

Commentarium (17 Comments)

Nov 23 10 - 10:02am

The best comments EVER. "The best way I’ve heard to lose a girl is to blindfold her in the woods and spin her around really fast then leave her there without a compass or a map."? Brilliant!

Nov 23 10 - 11:50am

this was awesome. this should be a regular feature - the asking of poets for sex advice. They give great advice. The first guy was my favorite. "if you have to ask the price, you can't afford it." amazing.

Nov 23 10 - 12:23pm

One of the better ones.

Nov 23 10 - 1:25pm
J. Al

The last guy's joke on Ezra Pound is hilarious.

Nov 23 10 - 2:07pm

I was hoping Essbaum would drop the f-bomb.

Nov 23 10 - 5:15pm

Mark Bibbins is an under-appreciated gem of this city. He should get more airtime here.

Nov 23 10 - 9:18pm
Gina Frangello

Love this! More! More!

Nov 24 10 - 12:58am
Anonymous Iggy

SO glad to see Keats get some love around here. Oh man. "When I Have Fears" is so tits.

Nov 24 10 - 3:28pm

The advice for the guy who can't stop cheating is awful. If he is so stuck on his habit that he would risk his relationships for it then he really doesn't love her. A person deserves to be in a relationship where s/he is cherished and protected. This is not the case for either person. Lying will get your dick cut off and your PC chucked out the window, so lay your cards on the table and bear your responsibility. You owe it to yourself and your partner.

Nov 24 10 - 7:54pm


The guy is not "cheating". He's watching porn. Regardless of your feelings on porn, no reasonable person can expect to forbid their partner to watch porn, even if they say "well, I consider it to be cheating." And if they try, they'll either a) get lied to, as is happening here, or b) lose their relationship over such an unreasonable demand. And why aren't you asking Anti-Porn Girlfriend why she's so stuck on her attitude that she would risk her relationships for it? She really must not love him, huh?

For the record: I think the last time I watched porn was 2009. I'm not a fan. Just sayin'.

Nov 26 10 - 5:46pm
Adam Michael Luebke

Funny! And you give poets a good name. Thank you.

Nov 27 10 - 4:14pm
Marissa Despain

These are terrific. Hit these poets (or others?) up for more advice. We could use it!

Nov 28 10 - 9:32am

Good stuff. Makes me smile!

Nov 29 10 - 9:30am

Hilarious! I want to hear more from them and other poets on this site.

Jan 05 11 - 6:51am

In Stendhal's 1822 classic On Love he describes or compares the “birth of love”, in which the love object is 'crystallized' in the mind, as being a process similar or analogous to a trip to Rome. In the analogy, the city of Bologna represents indifference and Rome represents perfect love: When the journey begins, love departs.

Jun 11 11 - 12:09pm

Fell out of bed feeling down. This has brihgteend my day!

Jun 25 11 - 8:30am

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