Lord of the Butterflies

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Lovers of performance poetry or slam poetry will be familiar with Andrea Gibson’s work. They’ve been performing their poetry with an earnest kinetic energy reveling in the cadences of their verse. For many performance poets, their work must be experienced live, seen or heard. But Gibson, who has been active and celebrated for more than twenty years now, is able to give readers in Lord of the Butterflies and their other collections a work that can stand alone and strong without their performative voice. Make no mistake, the poems do take on an augmented resonance when you encounter them coming from Gibson themself. The poems of Lord of the Butterflies entice readers to occupy the language and say them aloud in their own voice making such a move is beyond performative and supremely inclusive.

These poems tackle gender, queer struggle, identity, family, and love, holding a vibrancy readers will feel beyond the page—perhaps in the way narrator of Gibson’s ‘Orlando’ responds to the Pulse nightclub massacre, “I was sleeping in a hotel/in the Midwest at the time/but I imagine in that exact moment/my hand twitched in my sleep,/some unconscious part of me aware/that I had a pulse,/that I was alive.”

Gibson’s poetry masks nothing refusing romanticism yet giving readers fervent tenderness and sly political challenges brilliantly painted in words as in ‘America, Reloading’, “Mostly because of dying stars,/scientists say space smells like barbecue/and gunpowder. Which is to say/space smells like the United States.”

Reviewed By:

Author Andrea Gibson
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 96 pages
Publisher Button Poetry
Publish Date 2018-Nov-27
ISBN 9781943735426
Bookshop.org Buy this Book
Issue December 2018
Category Poetry & Short Stories


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