Elevate Difference

Andrea Gibson

Activist poet Andrea Gibson rations politics into five easy to swallow pills. Her self-titled five track DVD tackles the touchiest issues for queer activists today. From same sex union in “I do,” to rape in “Blue Blanket” and the hypocrisy of the yellow ribbon in her best performance of “For Eli,” Gibson is definitely on top of all the topics. But if watching this film didn’t release my anger towards the patriarchy – or even let me join in her chimed “I do” – it’s only because her writing feels redundant.

The personal is political, but the political does not come to feel personal with Gibson. Too often moments in her writing are outshined by gay pop culture allusions that bring to mind Ani Difranco songs or popular films from a few years back. In the piece “ I do,” she elaborates on a fifty year lesbian relationship that could, at the final hour, be unrecognized by the hospital; though the performance is not lacking, the allusion is quite strong and only reaffirms the tremendous influence gay culture has had on the way we choose to view these personal issues.

At her best in “Dive,” Gibson’s witty beginning plays on the double meaning of saying I love you: "I often repeat myself
and the second time's a lie/I love you I love you/see what I mean/I don't
...and I do." But the poem loses this playfulness as she takes the irony of the statement with metaphors that go beyond the difference of subtlety between poetry and spoken word. "see life/doesn't rhyme/it’s bullets/and wind chimes."

Gibson’s wittiness and charisma on stage are her best assets, but her often obsolete approach to the topic is just cutting it short to “another angry dyke” at the mic.

Written by: Beatrice Smigasiewicz, May 29th 2007