On Thursday April 11th, I attended a second poetry event at the Woodruff Health Sciences Administration Building. Andrea Gibson, a spoken word artist, was doing a show there so I decided to go. I started listening to spoken word poetry my senior year in high school and one of the first poets I came across was Andrea Gibson. I instantly fell in love with her words and her stage presence. She is phenomenal in both areas. Her poetry often deals with hot button issues such as gay rights or women’s rights and you can tell she is very passionate about both of these topics. I think the reason why I loved listening to her spoken word so much was because she was so vulnerable and you could tell, not only because of the words she was speaking but because of how she presented them which can be rare. I found it interesting that during her show she discussed her aversion to rhyming. If you listen to her poems, they do sometimes rhyme, but overall they do not. She essentially just said that rhyming is a bit cliché and she just prefers to tell her story without it.
Her poems are clearly best performed as she is a spoken word poet but when you look at her poems written out, her lines often do not stop where the page shows them to. Sometimes, when looking up the words, her poems are written in paragraph form so it has no real stops at all. Her performance was nearly flawless and was one of the best nights of my life. Her later poems rely on figurative language but, when she first started writing, it was pretty simple. Her poems did not contain puns or metaphors and similes. During her performance, her poems have clear stops when she takes a breath or just a pause with punctuation marks. She often deals with very personal issues and her poems hold so many emotions – from happiness, to anger, to intense melancholy. Her words draw me in and seeing them performed live brings a whole new life to her words. People can connect to her words when written on paper but, because spoken word relies so heavily on the performance, when she does speak her words, you connect in a different way and see how she hears the poem in her own head and how she intended for it to be heard. Her poems sometimes use anaphora as well. Though I’ve been listening to her for three years now, I never realized how much she really used poetic themes and whatnot. I never would have known how much her spoken word relates to traditional poetry without taking this class.