Professional slam poet Andrea Gibson dared to bare her soul for Quinnipiac students in Alumni Hall at 7 p.m. on April 9. Brought to campus by QU GLASS and the QU Democrats, the friendly and personable Gibson arrived to an intimate group of students.
Gibson began by reciting a piece written by her friend Maria Delnaya. The piece was followed by an hour-and-a-half performance accompanied with music, discussion and some jokes. Gibson performed a set of 14 poems ranging from discussing the discovery of good in evil to describing the beauty of moments that render people speechless.
Gibson explained to the small crowd that prior to becoming a poet she had been a preschool teacher. Dressed in worn jeans, a patched hoodie, wristbands, and sporting a short hairstyle, Gibson recalled her students asking innocent questions – inquiring about a girlfriend she might have or stating that their mothers thought she was odd. QU GLASS invited Gibson to Quinnipiac to have her speak about those experiences. On that platform, Gibson professed much of her beliefs and opinions through her poetry. She called for stereotypes to be rejected, the power of love to prevail, the frights of pregnancy to decrease, and an end to the war in the Middle East.
In her poem, “For Eli,” Gibson spoke about her friend, an Iraq veteran, who suffered from debilitating trauma and how destructive war can be on more than just a physical level.
Much of Gibson’s poetry dealt with feelings of loss and regret, while some announced the joy that could be found in life and love. She described some philosophical beliefs, such as wondering why heaven has gates in her poem titled “Say Yes.” The poem dealt with materialism, and contained the idea that having nothing is not the worst thing that can happen to a person.
In an interview after her performance, Gibson described that while in college, she was told that she could become a professional slam poet. She had been writing for years when she was told this, having begun in high school. She had been plagued with stage fright that kept her from performing until a break-up had ultimately given her the courage to overcome her fear to perform her poetry. She remembered being scared during her first performance, but being filled with exhilaration when she was finally done.
Gibson has written hundreds of poems over the years, but only deems 40 of them worthy for a performance. She said that she was excited that slam poetry has become more popular in recent years, especially at Quinnipiac. She was thrilled at the recent pro-gay marriage rulings in Iowa and Vermont. She referenced the same state of bliss in one of her poems about seeing two gay men kissing on a street corner in a red state. The act caused her and her girlfriend to cry tears of joy.