Andrea Gibson writes poetry that is not gentle about truth. She is fearless in her analysis of bullying, homosexuality, love, privilege and gender. Photo from andreagibson.org Anis Mojgani performs his poetry live in front of an audience. Photo by Jared Scott.
Andrea Gibson and Anis Mojgani are internationally acclaimed poets who publish books with Write Bloody Publishing, a poetry press based here in Austin. The pair will perform in the Joynes Reading Room on campus Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets for the reading are no longer available. They each shared some thoughts on poetry with The Daily Texan.
The Daily Texan: How do you draw your inspiration for the elaborate, fanciful metaphors you use to tell stories with your poems?
Anis Mojgani: Poetry is an opportunity to allow oneself to create in a very different manner. There is a logic and a reason and a science and a math to poetry, but it also allows for that logic and reasoning and science to exist in a different realm than the one we live in. I say a snake is a knife, a snake is a knife. I can choose to explain that, but I don’t have to. In a lot of the work I do, I invite the reader to put down whatever they might have with them and enter into something that perhaps might be different.
DT: What advice do you have for college students who want to pursue writing?
Mojgani: There’s always a place for someone’s writing. Even if you don’t get to make a living as a writer (as a person who does that, I’m very thankful for that), that shouldn’t be the guiding factor to why one writes. It shouldn’t be ‘I create art in order to get it known.’ One makes art to answer something that speaks up inside of oneself. It’s a tricky balance. Ultimately, one shouldn’t make art for that reason, but if one is serious about one’s art, they should be sharing.
DT: What do you like about campus shows, and how are college readings different than doing a slam or a regular public reading?
Andrea Gibson: I love performing on college campuses. I love how present and excited students tend to be. I love the energy and passion and I appreciate how open students are to having their hearts and minds changed. That said, college shows can be different than other readings in that the audiences are generally less rowdy … and I love rowdy!
DT: How do your roles as poet and activist overlap? How has your poetry made an impact in the conversation about LGBTQ equality and the struggles of the queer community?
Gibson: Art and activism began overlapping for me about 12 years ago when I started working with Vox Feminista, a performance group of radical political activists based in Colorado. Vox’s motto is, “To comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.” I’ve sort of adopted that as my own guide for living and writing for the past decade. As to how my poetry makes an impact in the LGBTQ community, I don’t think I can answer that. My hope is that it has helped people feel less alone.
Printed on Thursday, February 21, 2013 as: Slam poets deliberate broad aspects of writing