I read Andrea Gibson for the first time back in June, and once again, I’m in love with their poetry. Lord of the Butterflies is described in the About the Author section as “a book of protests, panic attacks, and pride parades. These poems riot against gun violence, homophobia, and white supremacy, while jubilating gender expansion, queer love, and the will to stay alive.” It also says Gibson is “known for pulling hearts out of chests to either wrench or kiss”. Yes, hundred times over, yes. I’m quoting because I honestly couldn’t sum it up any better than that.
Some of these poems make you want to stop reading and go share them with a friend, now. Others feel like private messages, meant just for you. Some need to be posted on billboards and played over the airwaves for all to see and hear.
I thought it was interesting that “Until We Act” was placed right after “Dear Trump Voter”. I know people who refuse to keep up with what’s going on around us, claiming “it’s too hard” because they “care too much.” They practically boast about the fact that they don’t know what’s happening in the world. While “Dear Trump Voter” is a direct message to a very particular group of people, “Until We Act” serves as a pointed rallying cry to moderates and armchair liberals.
That being said, having an open heart—for oneself and for others—and learning to open your heart, seems to be a common thread throughout this collection. Everything I said about Gibson’s writing in Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns holds true here. They are perfection, really and truly.
But most importantly, Andrea Gibson makes me feel like poetry is for everyone to read.
Favorite Poem in the Collection
It’s hard to choose just one, but I have to say “Orlando”, especially when they write, “even life is like funeral practice: half of us already dead to our families before we die, half of us still on our knees trying to crawl into the family photo.” Head over to YouTube to watch Gibson reading it last year in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.