Poets share personal stories

Miriam Arghandiwal

An enthusiastic and diverse crowd welcomed poets, Jovi Radtke and Andrea Gibson, as they took the stage Thursday night in the University Union Ballroom in honor of PRIDE Week.

Radtke took the stage first, with a performance resembling that of stand-up comedians as she hilariously recited poems about a writer’s inspiration.

“Poets always write about love, and I don’t get it because I go about most of my days thinking about shopping,” Radtke said, before reciting a poem about her consumer product addiction.

Accompanied by a fellow poet, Radtke told stories through poems that had the audience in constant fits of laughter.

Radtke ended her sit with a love poem, which she dedicated to Gibson.

An overwhelming amount of applause filled the room as Gibson took the stage. Dressed causally, she walked out with her iPod in hand.

She began with a powerful poem that talked about various conflicts an individual faces in reality. Her deliverance of the poem was intense as she recited the words with closed eyes. The analogies she used to paint scenarios were clever and connected the audience to her story.

Gibson continued to touch the audience with her poetry throughout the night as she recited poems about politics, war, love, violence and the struggles of being unaccepted by society.

Before each poem, she would share with the audience the stories that inspired the poems. Gibson told stories of ridicule, self-mutilation and the mutilation of others.

She shared childhood stories that described her outlook on life, then followed each story with a poem.

Perhaps the most chilling story was that of a young solider who came back from his service and had rocked in his father’s arms, crying for an hour before leaving to hang himself.

She followed the story up with a poem that said, “He held wisdom in his eyes, I never wanted to know.”

There was one particular theme Gibson kept coming back to throughout the night, and that was defying limits.

“I hate the word bisexual because it tries to define people by gender. I’m neither male nor female, I’m something you’ve never seen before,” Gibson said.

Tiffany Priddy-Croft, an audience member, said she enjoyed the intensity and diversity of the show.

“I loved the part where she spoke about walking into a bathroom and having a woman ask her if she knew it was a women’s bathroom. Her response of “not wanting to put a tampon in my penis’ was hilarious,” Priddy-Croft said.

The emotionally touching show ended the way it began, with an overwhelming amount of applause. Gibson’s creativity left me surprised at how interesting and effective a poetry reading could be.

Many members of the audience walked over to purchase copies of Gibson’s CDs from booths, while others stood around with smiles discussing the performance.

It is safe to say that Gibson left the room very satisfied.

Miriam Arghandiwal can be reached at [email protected]