Episode 171: Andrea Gibson

On growing our love, meeting ourselves with care, and receiving the intelligent tenderness of every moment.

  • 2:05 You Better Be Lightning – winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award, Feathered Quill Book Award, American Library Association Over the Rainbow, Colorado Book Award & Goodreads Choice Finalist.
  • 4:30 Things That Don’t Suck (Substack); Softening since high school, and over the last 10 years. Everything changing with the first buzz cut.
  • 6:30 Anis Mojhani – “My heart was too big for my body, so I had to let it go.”; Discovering spoken word in 1999. Dreaming of having poetry readings in packed rock clubs.
  • 8:45 People coming to the shows because they too were having panic attacks. Being diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and almost immediately feeling safer than ever before.
  • 10:50 Remission nutrition and chemotherapy.
  • 13:00 We don’t realize how much we are living in the future until we are confronted with our mortality. Trusting the universe and having a loving relationship with our mortality.
  • 15:15 Favorite medium of art – Music. It transports to an expansive place, so many feelings at once, nostalgic and enlivening. We are every age we have ever been. We are all of the ages.
  • 17:20 In order to offer forgiveness, I don’t have to love myself less, I can love myself more. Self love being the same thing as loving the entire world.
  • 20:10 Choosing compassion over anger when finding out about getting cancer. Gaining this sudden clarity. Continuing to learn.
  • 23:35 Learning tenderness from the places where there was a lack of tenderness. Becoming witness and having compassion for the edges. Seeing that kindness comes from offering kindness to the parts of me that haven’t been kind.
  • 25:50 How much to share publicly vs keeping things quiet. Feeling safety in expression.
  • 27:35 Drawing inspiration from everywhere. All of writing and creating is plagiarizing the beauty that is already here. What made the aspen trees is the same thing that made me.
  • 29:40 Short readings from Andrea – “Instead of Depression”; “Wellness Check”;

Andrea Gibson is one of the most celebrated and influential spoken word poets of our time. Best known for their live performances, Gibson has changed the landscape of what it means to attend a “poetry show” altogether. To hear Gibson is like hearing songwriters play their music, their trademark honesty and vulnerability are on full display. Gibson’s poems center around LGBTQ issues, gender, feminism, mental health and the dismantling of oppressive social systems. The winner of the first Women’s World Poetry Slam, Gibson has gone on to be awarded the LGBTQ Out100 and has been featured on BBC, NPR and CSpan. Gibson is the author of seven award winning books and seven full length albums. Their live shows have become loving and supportive ecosystems for audiences to feel seen, heard, and held through Gibson’s art.

You Better Be Lightning (2021) by Andrea Gibson is a queer, political, and feminist collection guided by self-reflection.The poems range from close examination of the deeply personal to the vastness of the world, exploring the expansiveness of the human experience from love to illness, from space to climate change, and so much more in between. You Better Be Lightning is winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award, Feathered Quill Book Award, American Library Association Over the Rainbow, Colorado Book Award & Goodreads Choice Finalist. https://buttonpoetry.com/product/you-better-be-lightning/

Things That Don’t Suck (Substack) – It’s common to look around and take inventory of what sucks. This is one poet’s quest to uncover what doesn’t, and what shifts when we shift our attention. https://andreagibson.substack.com

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