Queer Writers Showcase 1: Andrea Gibson

Hey there guys, it’s J.M. again!

Today I’m going to start a short 3 part series about poetry and the queer community. It’s not going to be a long series. It’ll  be 3 blogs that will showcase modern poets and/or authors that I feel offer an important perspective with regards to GSM rights.

The first person for the showcase is Andrea Gibson. She is personally one of my favorite poets of all time. She writes about her experiences as a gay woman as well as being an outspoken activist for equality and love.

Her work is best explained by the bio quip on her site:

Andrea Gibson is not gentle with her truths. It is this raw fearlessness that has led her to the forefront of the spoken word movement– the first winner of the Women’s World Poetry SlamGibson has headlined prestigious performance venues coast to coast with powerful readings on war, class, gender, bullying, white privilege, sexuality, love, and spirituality.
– andreagibson.org

Her work is heavy and sharp. Listening to her words has a strong effect. It hits you hard and digs into your heart. It’s sad, beautiful, insightful, and powerful. Afterwords your left in a hazy fog for some time. It’s arguable to say that listening to Andrea Gibson’s work can change people, and move them to take action.

Enough of my boasting. Here are 4 pieces that I feel exemplify what she does, which I encourage you to listen to as you read along with the blog. The links take you to YouTube videos of each piece (I would have embedded them, but the website was giving me some issues).

Swingset:
In this poem Andrea examines how children don’t think about such arbitrary things as gender presentation and sexuality.

See-Through:
Not all of her poems are geared toward the GSM community. This one is covering a wider deeper wound in our nation’s history. This is a hard pill to swallow for many of us, but it’s an important and powerful message. In this poem Andrea examines white privilege once again using the image of small children’s innocence to drive home her point.

Walmart:
In this poem Andrea tells us about her parent’s reaction to her coming out. This is a rough, powerful, and angry piece. She builds up tension throughout the piece, but gives a wonderfully satisfying finish.

Ashes:
An ode to queer people who were killed by being set on fire. Yes, you read that right. It’s a terribly sad and beautiful piece. If this poem doesn’t make you cry, you are not human.

There isn’t much to say after hearing a piece like that. So I leave you with nothing else, and let her voice resonate through the chambers of your heart. Until next time, live as intellectually and emotionally honest as you can, and enjoy life.

– J.M. Romig

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