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Poet Andrea Gibson to Perform at Saint Mary’s

| Tuesday, April 8, 2014

WEB_Banner_AndreaGibsonAllie Tollaksen | The Observer

Writers have many ways of approaching poetry. Some come at it from a more tender, sappy angle, while others are more abstract. Poetry is a tough writing style to tackle: It is a process that requires putting your own feelings out onto the line, in hopes they will be described accurately. At times, this is troublesome, but poets have a gift of telling the world just how they feel in a moment with precision and beauty. In the case of poet Andrea Gibson, her work approaches you with the force of a train, no holds barred.

Andrea Gibson, who will be performing a Saint Mary’s College on Thursday, not only uses her poetry as an art form, but also as an outlet for activism, performing poems about controversial topics. Her work, which mainly comes in the form of spoken word poetry, deals with topics of an impressively wide range, including war, sexuality, gender, spirituality and bullying.

Gibson has also written and released five full-length albums of spoken word poetry, including her best selling “Flower Boy,” and two books of poetry. She was the first-ever winner of the Women’s World Poetry Slam, and has been featured on CNN, Free Speech TV and C-Span. In 2010, her poetry was read by a state representative in lieu of morning prayer at the Utah State Legislature.

All of the words in Gibson’s poems are meaningful, colliding with each other in a conglomerate of sincerity and brutality. Her poetry is raw and real, provoking deep though no matter the subject, all the while making deep personal connections to the reader or listener. One of her most popular poems, “Jellyfish,” displays this unique connection of words about love: “My heart is a runway/I’ve been staring at the sky since my love took off/Will you be my friend? Will you punch me in the tough just once/I need to reset my bones, swingset my ribcage, so the next time someone pushes me away, I’ll push right back …”

Another poem, “I Sing The Body Electric, Especially When My Power’s Out,” deals with self image: “She said, our kneecaps are our prayer beds/Everyone can walk better on their kneecaps than they can on their feet.” The diversity of Gibson’s work is what makes her such a unique poet for the modern day: she does not just stick to just one subject.

Saint Mary’s College has been participating in PRIDE week this week, which raises awareness for issues in the LGBTQ community. Events have included a student panel, tie-dying t-shirts and signing an Ally banner in support of the LGBT community. Saint Mary’s College is fortunate enough to host Gibson in Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall as part of this week, and her poetry and presence is sure to amaze and inspire. This event is free and open to the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross community.

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