Picture courtesy of Andrea Gibson’s Facebook page.
Editor’s note – Since Andrea Gibson prefers to be “gender non-specific,” the poet is referred to as “they” in this story.
St. Mary’s City, MD—Andrea Gibson first entered the public world of poetry in 1999 when they performed at an open mic night in Boulder, CO. They became a national sensation in the literature field when they won the first Woman of the World Poetry Slam in 2008, although Gibson does use gender-neutral pronouns (they/them). Working primarily in spoken word, Gibson has released three written poetry collections and seven full-length albums for their fans’ listening pleasure.
Just this last Tuesday, Jan. 23, Gibson released their third book, Take Me With You, a pocket-sized collection with empowering messages of love, family, sexuality, politics, and other social justice topics. On that same day, Gibson also released their new album Hey Galaxy. This album, along with five others, is available for streaming on Spotify. On their website, Gibson has copies of their books along with CDs and vinyl records for sale.
On Wednesday, Jan. 24, Gibson made a somewhat surprise stop on their five-month tour to visit St. Mary’s College of Maryland. Gibson’s spoken word style is unique, as they have musical accompaniment with each reading. While dealing with minor technical difficulties, Gibson and their team could not get the speakers to work properly to play the music, but thankfully a musician friend of theirs accompanying them on tour jumped on the open piano in the room to aid Gibson during their first poem.
The poems Gibson read dealt with suicide, misogyny, LGBTQ+, the current political climate, family turmoil, and more. The heavy nature of each work made it a rather tear-jerking experience, one that undoubtedly dwelled within the audience long after each reading. Gibson writes and reads to spread a message, to inform, to get listeners to empathize with people that may not look or love like they do.
To make the night even more memorable, Gibson brought along their two dogs on the tour, and at the end of the performance allowed them to mingle with the crowd. It was an eye-opening and humbling performance.
Just a few months ago, nationally recognized poet Rudy Francisco also visited SMCM. It’s clear that SMCM is a school that not only values, but treasures creativity and the arts.
Contact Naomi Hurley at email@example.com