Five Questions with Andrea Gibson
1. What book do you find yourself coming back to again and again?
AG: Any book by Toni Morrison. I’ve read her again and again and it always lifts me into a better version of myself, doubles the size of my heart, and restores my faith in the power of beauty. I’ve also read Stone Butch Blues by Leslie Feinberg many times and expect I’ll keep reading it for the rest of my life.
2. What's something you haven't gotten the chance to address yet in your work that you would like to explore?
AG: I don’t think there’s a topic I haven’t had the chance to address, but there are many topics I haven’t yet braved into, or haven’t yet done the growing I'd want to do before opening that door. For example, I want to write about the often-challenging process of letting oneself be loved during times of grief and illness, and during times of emotional crisis, but I can feel that poem is at least a year away. There is more life to be lived before it will rear up to the surface and demand to be written. I can feel that I haven't reached the right place of wonder yet.
3. How is Lord of the Butterflies different from work you've done in the past?
AG: When I first started writing, I had an unhealthy attachment to knowing a lot. I approached my poems with my head full of answers and a desire to get those answers onto the page. As I’ve gotten older, I have more questions than answers and I write poems as an exploration of those questions. This book is driven by curiosity, and in that way it feels like my most honest book thus far.
4. We all talk about bad habits. What is one good habit you have?
AG: I don’t wash my hands. Ha! I can’t believe I’m admitting this publicly but I don’t wash my hands. It started as a phobia of public restrooms as a result of getting harassed for my gender expression—I don’t want to spend a single second longer than I absolutely have to in that environment. But why do I call not washing my hands a good habit, you might ask? Because I’m now convinced, much to my partner’s dismay, that it’s why I very, very rarely catch the cold or the flu. I think I flooded myself with so many germs that my body had to build up special defenses and now I’ve got a germ army defending my immune system. (I’m going to regret this answer, I’m sure of it. :) )
5. What's your favorite thing about the city in which you live?
AG: Far from a city, I live in the farmland outside of Niwot, Colorado, and my favorite thing about it is the space. I can step out of my front door and see forever, and in that expanse of forever I see prairie dogs and owls and llamas and pigs and horses and goats. The other day I looked out of my front door and saw a bobcat walking around on the front step.
One of the most celebrated and successful poets of the last two decades, Andrea Gibson began their career in 1999 with a break-up poem at an open mic in Boulder, Colorado. In 2008, Gibson leapt into the forefront of the national spoken word poetry scene when they won the first ever Woman of the World Poetry Slam. Gibson is the author of four previous books of poetry and has released seven spoken-word albums. The honesty of Gibson’s work makes audiences and readers feel welcome as they are.