In a fierce oscillation between activism and love, Andrea Gibson’s newest literary triumph, Lord of the Butterflies, is a masterful showcase from the renowned poet whose writing and performances have captured the hearts of millions. An artful and nuanced look at gender, romance, loss, and family, this is also a book of protest. While rioting against gun violence, homophobia, and white supremacy, Gibson (they/them) celebrates gender expansion, queer love, and the will to stay alive. Each emotion in Lord of the Butterflies is deft and delicate, resting within imagery heavy enough to sink the heart, while giving the body wings to soar.
Andrea Gibson Shares New Video “America, Reloading”
Ft. Music by Ani DiFranco
Plus, East Coast Tour Dates
Today, Andrea Gibson (they/them) – slam poet, activist and author, released an extremely powerful video accompanying their essay “America, Reloading,” a commentary on gun control and school shootings. The poem is from their latest book, LORD OF THE BUTTERFLIES and singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco contributed music to the piece.
“I know the poem itself can be difficult to read. It was difficult to write. It’s a shame it has to be written at all.”
Andrea is currently finishing up a 30+ date tour supporting their latest book, LORD OF THE BUTTERFLIES and will be making stops along the major East Coast markets before heading to the UK.
I moved to Colorado in 1999, just a few months after the massacre at Columbine High School. At the time it was the deadliest high school shooting in U.S history, twelve students and one teacher murdered. I had friends who had spent that horrific day in the ER waiting room, waiting to see if their loved ones had or hadn’t survived. As activist groups all over the state and nation rallied for gun reform, I remember feeling certain that the images of children crawling out of 2nd story school windows in an attempt to escape gunfire would surely loosen the greed-grip of the NRA. I was wrong.
April 20, 2019 marked two decades since parents in Columbine sprinted out of their workplaces and raced, frantic, to pray and wail and hold each other outside of their children’s school. This was before anyone had a cellphone to text, “Are you ok? I LOVE YOU.” This was before mothers would post desperately to Facebook, “I can’t reach my daughter! Has anyone heard from my daughter?” So much has changed in the last twenty years. U.S gun laws have not.
Since Columbine,187,000 students have experienced school shootings in the United States. Valentine’s Day, the day our nation has historically celebrated love, is now known as the day an AR-15 stopped the hearts of seventeen students and staff members at a high school in Parkland, Florida. As I write this, two survivors of that shooting as well as a father of a child murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary have died by suicide in the past month. Also in the last month, New Zealand has announced sweeping changes in their national gun laws in direct and immediate response to the white supremacist murders of fifty people at two Christchurch mosques, shining undeniable light on what could be, but hasn’t been done, here.
It is impossible to write a piece about school shootings in the U.S without writing something devastating. In writing, “America, Reloading” I kept returning to my belief that even when the truth isn’t hopeful, the telling of it is. While the poem itself is dark, it was extremely important to both the videographer (Sarah Megyesy) and myself to prioritize filming the light and tenderness of children. Many times during filming I kept asking myself how anyone could look directly into the eyes of a child and still want AR-15s to be as easy to purchase as candy bars.
How long will it before the lives of our youth take precedent over the bank accounts of our nation’s leaders? This piece was created with love, rage, and grief, and with a desire to shift the power out of the hands with so much blood on them. – Andrea Gibson
Andrea Gibson Tour:
04.29 | Philadelphia, PA @ The Foundry @ The Fillmore Philadelphia
04.30 | Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
05.01 | Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
05.03 | Northampton, MA @ Academy of Music
05.04 | New York, NY @ The Gramercy
*all tour info and up to date news at andreagibson.org
In a fierce oscillation between activism and love, Andrea Gibson’s newest literary triumph,Lord of the Butterflies, is a masterful showcase from the renowned poet whose writing and performances have captured the hearts of millions. An artful and nuanced look at gender, romance, loss, and family, this is also a book of protest. While rioting against gun violence, homophobia, and white supremacy, Gibson (they/them) celebrates gender expansion, queer love, and the will to stay alive. Each emotion in Lord of the Butterflies is deft and delicate, resting within imagery heavy enough to sink the heart, while giving the body wings to soar.
Gibson just released a new book April 16 on Chronicle where they roll out the welcome mat and prove that poetry is for everyone. How Poetry Can Change Your Heart is for lapsed poetry lovers, aspiring poets, or total novices, readers will learn to uncover verse in unexpected places, find their way through a poem when they don’t quite “get it,” and discover just how transformative poetry can be. This is a gorgeous and inspiring gift for any fan of the written word. The book is co-written with Megan Falley.
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