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Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns

4.58  ·  Rating Details ·  1,390 Ratings  ·  92 Reviews
Andrea Gibson's dynamic and energetic first book, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, challenges us to not only read, but to react. Hauntingly vivid, the poems march through a soldier's lingering psychological wounds, tackle the curious questions of school children on the meaning of "hate," and tangle with a lover's witty and vibrant description of longing. Gibson's poems decons ...more
Paperback, 99 pages
Published June 1st 2008 by Write Bloody Publishing
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May 26, 2014 Megan rated it it was amazing
This book is magnificent in every sense of the word. I loved it and, even more than I did before, I love Andrea Gibson. I cannot really say much on it because I don't read a lot of poetry, so I have nothing really to compare this too, but I thoroughly enjoyed this. Please read this book. It's eye opening, in my opinion.
Pauliina K
Oct 17, 2016 Pauliina K rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, poetry

all kinds of heavy and sad and radical and loud and beautiful.
Mar 19, 2015 Katie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2015
I've never been one for poetry. I'm a very literal person and lofty metaphors go way over my head ("Animal Farm wasn't just about animals?").

Andrea Gibson's stuff, however, is raw and accessible. She talks eloquently about causes I hold dear and ones I didn't even know existed.

This is an excellent book.
Asma Khoory
Jan 10, 2016 Asma Khoory rated it liked it
This was way more powerful than the Madness Vase.
Jan 28, 2017 Rainey rated it it was amazing
Armed with a clear voice and a slew of bitter truths, Gibson marches forward to join the ranks of my favourite living poets. They stand alongside Atwood, Kaur, Lovelace, and Shire- and the revolution will be televised.
Jul 23, 2008 Julia rated it really liked it
Shelves: college
Incredible poetry. Andrea Gibson is a master.

I've given it 4 stars instead of 5 because of the quality of the book itself - where was the copy editor? There are typos throughout and the layout detracts from the poetry. The line breaks aren't quite ideal, either, especially after listening to the poems performed so many times on youtube. I don't know whether that had to do with the poet's decisions or an editor's because the poems she has on her website are split differently.

There are some othe
May 26, 2016 James rated it it was amazing
Powerful and honest. An essential read for all, though very often not an easy one. Gibson captures moments of tenderness as well as brutality, and everything is shot through with an honesty about society as it stands. Poems about gender, love, violence, and an overwhelming optimism for surviving no matter what. I was able to read this in a day without fear that the poems might blur into one. They are distinctive: each is important, each is unique and each is powerful.

It's hard to 'enjoy' moments
Jan magdalene
Apr 08, 2013 Jan magdalene rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
I dunno... i used to be really into andrea gibson when i was just coming out as boring post-evangelical queer-trans whatever, and hadn't really been exposed to any other poetry, but now i find it kinda boring. like, a few too many cliches and lesbian love poems about growing old together... also, really intense shit and WAYYY to many graphic accounts of rape, and rape metaphors, for me to be able to read this in one sitting. it is really fucking intense.
i do like a lot of gibsons writing, and o
Feb 15, 2012 Conor rated it it was amazing
In her first book of poetry, Andrea Gibson spills ink everywhere and punches glass windows that shouldn't be there. Her voice is loud, to the point and reaches you with metaphorical genious.

This book is for the first time poetry readers, The Harvard English Professors and everyone in between. Your life will be revolutionized to include Andrea's scope. Her aim is fearless and no heart more outwardly held.

Also, check out her new book The Madness Vase
Jan 23, 2013 Lily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-library
"She pole dances to gospel hymns."

The thing that first caught my attention about this book was the title. The rest unfolded for itself. Andrea Gibson is one of the fiercest contemporary poets I've ever come across, and watching her perform her poems while reading them myself made the experience so much more poignant and life-changing.

A full five stars deserved. Cheers for Andrea! :)
Apr 14, 2013 Cori rated it it was amazing
Andrea Gibson is my favourite spoken word poet. I'm so thrilled to have some of her works in a book. Particularly one that is signed.
Donna-Marie Riley
Mar 24, 2014 Donna-Marie Riley rated it liked it
I absolutely adore Andrea Gibson, but I do think her poetry works better performed than read off the page. I also noticed more than a few typos in the book, which was a little disappointing.
Feb 28, 2013 Brittany rated it it was amazing
Shelves: one-day, poetry
As if I needed a reminder that Andrea is perfect.
Russell Reidelberger
Nov 10, 2016 Russell Reidelberger rated it it was amazing
Shelves: since-2009, poetry
Semi painful to read. The way she describes feelings of loss is perfection.
Alexis Nikol
Nov 29, 2016 Alexis Nikol rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
If you haven't heard Andrea Gibson read her poetry before, you must. A lot of these I had to read out loud (in her vocal attitude, too) in order to feel the poems. Still great stuff though, she's such a visual writer, it's beautiful.

My personal favorites:
Love Poem
Every Month
Ear Muffs
Say Yes
I Do
Dec 11, 2016 Julia rated it really liked it
an undeniable talent.
Dec 26, 2016 Katelynn rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books, own
I've been in love with Andrea Gibson for years but have never been able to find her books anywhere. I feel blessed to now finally have her work on my bookshelf, and I have really nothing to say about how brave and incredible and gutting and gentle this book is besides just leaving quotes from it here:

Lover, this is not just another poem.
This is my goddamn revolt.
I am done holding my tongue like a bible.
There is too much war in every verse of our silence.
We have all dug too many trenches awa
Jan 03, 2016 Lola rated it it was amazing
Andrea Gibson is not just a poet. To call this woman a mere poet would be insulting. She is an activist, a trailblazer, and a writer who is completely unafraid. She wields her pen not as a sword but as a lie-detector. She examines the world and its flaws honestly and emotionally. Gibson is as likely to make you cry as make you laugh. In one poem, she can be wickedly funny and in the next she can tug on your heartstrings. Instead of trying to review every poem, I'm going to focus on a few I real ...more
Sarah Al Qassimi
Dec 31, 2016 Sarah Al Qassimi rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Perhaps my favorite of theirs so far.
Jan 19, 2015 Brigitte rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: 2015
First book of the new year for 2015. I borrowed this from a friend because I wanted to try poetry. Still not my thing. It’s hard to criticize poetry; you either like it or you don’t. Maybe it’s an acquired taste? Not sure.

I assume I was into all the sappy and glum poems. There’s parts that were interesting:

"Was gonna love you so well
I’d wake every morning
and tell you things like this,
"Bliss is the moments you’re with me
when you’re gone my life hurts like hell
but I’ll do anything to make you hap
Mar 31, 2013 Noa rated it it was amazing
In "Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns" Andrea Gibson explores vivid imagery and bold, eloquent language. This was the first of her work that I have experienced and at first I was not sure what to expect; I had never heard of her and the title of the book seemed rather risque to me. However from the moment I flipped open to "Photograph" I was immediately hooked. As I read through her poetry I found that many of her metaphors and descriptions resonated with me in a very interesting way. I feel like I w ...more
Aug 03, 2014 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, lgbtq
I will always prefer Gibson's live readings and was fortunate enough to see her twice. Her readings, like live music performances, have slight alterations that convey the nuances of her words based on her delivery. She confessed that her stage fright inspired her to memorize her poems, and she is a true talent. On the page, I feel like some of her heart gets lost by not being able to hear her voice crack over words, grow quieter or louder or braver or desperate. Still, I was impressed by her sho ...more
Schuyler Peck
Apr 22, 2015 Schuyler Peck rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-1-12
Andrea Goddess Gibson, is there anyone better? The answer, as you come to finish her book, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, is no.
This book of poetry and art is radiant. Never have I felt a person so express themselves in who they are and what is important to them, than the heart that Andrea leaves on her pages. This is powerful work. She details life in a way that is felt so deeply, I'm both afraid and excited to go out in the world and try to experience it too. This is love and heartbreak bleedi
Mar 21, 2013 Tim rated it it was amazing
I love Andrea's poetry and how over the top beautiful and romantic it is. She has a long way to go to even see that men are people though and her classist ideas at times rub me the wrong way, but hey, sometimes when I stop to think about things, I realize I am the poor, urban, rather conscious and introspective white/native male putting himself through college, that maybe is all too rare for people to encounter. Still, Andrea prides herself on being a safe place and an advocate, and even though ...more
Sep 15, 2016 Mahinn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to give this just a 3 star rating because of what I felt was inconsistency. I don't know what it was. Poor compilation? Or just an uncomfortable collection of poems which jarred one against the other, jostling for white space. I'm not sure. But it was unsettling. While some poems, some lines, even some words and the manner in which they danced were astonishing and shiveringly good, I just did not manage to get a from grip of the book. Or vice versa.

There are some gems in here though. Stic
I don't know why I didn't mark this as "read" awhile ago. I finished in two sittings, in my bed. Gibson's radical and political slam poetry is addictive and vulnerable, and this collection brought me to tears several times. I highly recommend reading her works, although I do not like her latest work "Madness Vase" as much as I like "Pole Dancing."

I met Gibson last Thursday when she came to the Joynes Reading Room at UT; in person she is as genuine and unabashedly emotional as she is in her poet
Oct 14, 2014 Leigh rated it it was amazing
Sometimes I'd like to think I could be a writer, that I will be a writer.
Then I read Andrea Gibson and think to myself, "silly girl. *this* is writing"
My copy of Pole Dancing will likely soon be dog-eared. I've gone through it so many times, poured over her words, and continued to find new meanings and new phrasing. The way she wields a word can hit you like a featherpillow or a punch to the gut. She is delicate and rough, tenderhearted and raw. Her writing can move me to tears in a matter of li
Jul 29, 2015 Florence rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wishlist, poetry
the teddy bear won't live but god dam this collection of poems will bc they are spectacular, this is fkn bliss.

i finished this during a break at uni, sitting at a picnic table by myself, under a sad looking tree and god fkn dam was it bliss.

pls for the love of god, read this and change the way you view things. realise how terrible life can be and how good it could be. embrace life and love everyone and think about how much nicer the world would be if everyone was peaceful and tolerant and respe
Apr 04, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
This book completely changed the way I live my life and the way I look at it. My decision to read this book was probably one of the best ones I've ever made. If you haven't read it, you need to. Andrea Gibson knows exactly how to get her message across without taking herself too seriously or poking you in the ribs. Words from these poems roll around in my head probably every single day and have had a large influence on the way I live, and I don't know where I would be right now if I had not pick ...more
Dec 04, 2011 Noora rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Yet another amazing book by Andrea Gibson. Although there were alot of typos in the book, I'm still giving this 5 stars, because I just absolutely love her poetry. I find the performance of the poems alot more interesting than reading them, but because I've listened to her poetry so much, I could almost hear her performing the poems. Also, reading the poems was amazing because you could take in the beauty of every metaphor and line, without missing anything. I would recommend this book to everyo ...more
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Andrea Gibson is an award-winning poet and activist who lives in Boulder, Colorado. Their poetry focuses on gender norms, politics, social reform and the struggles LGBTQ people face in today's society. In addition to using poetry to express what they feel and provide social and political commentary on real issues, they are involved with many activist groups. They often perform at Take Back the Nig ...more
More about Andrea Gibson...

Share This Book

“I know this world is far from perfect.
I am not the type to mistake a streetlight for the moon.
I know our wounds are deep as the Atlantic.
But every ocean has a shoreline
and every shoreline has a tide
that is constantly returning
to wake the songbirds in our hands,
to wake the music in our bones,
to place one fearless kiss on the mouth of that new born river
that has to run through the center of our hearts
to find its way home.”
“Cause I don't wanna be a witness to this life,
I want to be charged and convicted,
ear lifted to her song like a bouquet of yes
because my heart is a parachute that has never opened in time
and I wanna fuck up that pattern,
leave a hole where the cold comes in and fill it every day with her sun,
'cause anyone who has ever sat in lotus for more than a few seconds
knows it takes a hell of a lot more muscle to stay than to go”
More quotes…