Exactly one week ago, poet-activist Andrea Gibson graced Boston with her stirring presence at the Middle East Downstairs. Popular in the slam poetry circuit, Gibson performs intricate spoken word poetry often accompanied by light music. Her poems mainly tackle social justice issues, varying from LGBTQ rights to anti-violence to racial equality. Gibson’s poetry does not hold back – and her writing exhibits an astonishing rawness. She grapples with the really hard stuff – the suicide, the poverty, the systematic injustice – and she makes people hear. Not just listen, but learn and internalize. Her poetry is so much more than blooming metaphors and a captivating performance – it’s an awakening. Once you see the world as she sees it, to go back would be impossible. Her artistry is purely human, both disturbing and comforting, as all good art should be.


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