Interview with Andrea Gibson

Interview with Andrea Gibson

By Olivia Decklar

Andrea Gibson is an award winning spoken word poet who performed at the OUT/LOUD Queer and Trans Womxn’s Performance Fest put on by the ASUO’s Women’s Center.

How does poetry and art help you cope?

“I have always found so much healing in expression, in telling my story, in being witness to other people’s stories. There is a disease of silence and untruth in our world right now. There is so much destruction. And one remedy for that is honest creation. It’s the one clear time in my life: when I’m making art or taking in art. It is the time I feel most connected to the world around me, and to the world inside of me.”

Why might other people who identify as Queer and/or Trans want to look into using poetry and art as a coping mechanism?

“I heard many years ago that loneliness resonates in the same part of the brain as physical pain, so anything that combats the myth what I’m trying to do with my writing and it’s important to me to be connecting speci cally with other Queer folks, to help build community that shows up to each other. The container of art often allows for things to be said that might not be said otherwise. Art, in some ways, is its own safe space. I say things in poems I am still too scared to say in conversation. And my hope is that that truth lends some comfort.”

What inspires you and why?

“I’m inspired by curiosity and wonder and [also] people who are really willing to say, ‘I don’t know, but I want to find out.’ The only doctor I ever had that I trusted was the one who consistently said, ‘I don’t know.’ We are a culture of knowers. We are a culture of certainty about things we maybe should not be so certain about. I love people whose minds change constantly and quickly -- people who are always learning and exploring. People who are not just willing to be wrong, but who are excited when they are, because
it means they now know something they did not know a moment ago.”

As it is Mental Health Awareness Month, what do you do for self-care?

“So many things! I watch basketball. I snuggle my dog. I take baths. I hike. I get into the sun and breathe deep. I listen to positive a rmations from various almost hilarious [YouTube] channels while my housemates laugh in the background as I repeat over and over ‘I love myself! I love myself!’ I write until I uncover something beautiful in something difficult. I list the things I am grateful for. I call my friends and ask for pep talks. I call my friends and give them pep talks. I sing out loud at the top of my lungs. I cry out loud at the top of my lungs. I watch Tig Notaro comedy videos. I pray to whatever Queer and freaky gods are out there.”

What is your go-to poem in your time of need?

“Right now it is ‘Today’ by Danez Smith.”

What does it mean to be a Queer artist to you?

“For me it is about speaking to the horrors and injustices that are ever-present for Queer people, while at the same time creating art that comforts and inspires and celebrates. As much as we need the truth of the pain to be told, we also need the truth of the beauty to be spoken. As a queer person I am both full of grief and full of awe for the lives we create in spite.”

How can our society better support and provide for the LGBTQIA+ community?

“Acknowledging that the current paradigm is one of war and committing to shifting to path of peace, which I know sounds impossible, but I have to believe it’s possible.”