Andrea Gibson is one of the most celebrated and influential poets of today. Their oeuvre includes work on topics from pressing contemporary social issues—the kind that make you scream—to gentle love poems. Gibson isn’t strictly poetry either; their new show, ‘Right Now, I Love You Forever’ on tour now, is being billed as a “multimedia, poetic story-telling experience”.
We got to talk to Gibson about everything from why right now is the perfect time for a performance about love to how gender identity informs their work.
College News: Your new show ‘Right Now, I Love You Forever’ has been in the works for a while. Can you tell us a little bit about it? And why is now the right time for it?
Andrea Gibson: The show was something I was wanting to do for a long time, but put on hold after the election of Trump because I needed some time to scream. Not to suggest that my screaming has stopped. It hasn’t. But alongside the screaming is always love, and there is never a wrong time for love.
CN: ‘Right Now, I Love You Forever’ is not strictly slam poetry, you’ve called it a “multimedia, poetic story-telling experience”. Can you give us an idea of what to expect? Why this format?
AG: The show is a collection of poems and stories and songs and film. It’s in some ways a live scrapbook of my heart’s life, and what I have learned throughout the mess and triumph of it all.
CN: What has it been like for you to put together this show in today’s political climate?
AG: It’s been a helpful reminder to presence my own, and everyone else’s tenderness, in whatever I create, and to keep touching back to the fierce softness of the human heart.
CN: You’ve written a lot about love, but you’ve also written a lot about important social and political issues. How do you see subjects, which seem to be getting more and more compartmentalized today, as related?
AG: All social and political issues are issues of love, or the lack thereof. How our hearts roll in intimate situations are how our hearts roll outwards into the world. It’s all connected. It all dominoes.
CN: We understand that you identify as queer and gender queer. How has this impacted your art?
AG: It predisposes me to being turned off my boxes and inclines each word I write to be something in search of freedom.
CN: What’s the best piece of writing advice you have for aspiring poets and writers?
AG: Read. A lot. If something moves you, learn how to articulate to yourself why it moves you. And if it doesn’t move you, do the same. Stay away from what you think, and stay close to what you feel. It’s not always about writing your heart out. Sometimes it’s about writing your heart IN.
CN: What do you hope to accomplish that you haven’t yet?
AG: I’m working to be braver in my writing. I’m working to be more willing to create art no one loves but me. I’m working to write what terrifies me to write. Safety is so repetitive. It’s wild how easy it is to be boring. I feel finished with anything that walks that road.