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Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns

4.62 of 5 stars 4.62  ·  rating details  ·  1,070 ratings  ·  74 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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Community Reviews

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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.
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.
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
Jan magdalene
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
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 19, 2015 Brigitte rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: no one
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
"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! :)
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
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.
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
As if I needed a reminder that Andrea is perfect.
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
Santiago Giraldo
Gibson's visceral rambling gets to you somehow and stays there. I found her indignation to be a powerful driver throughout the book without it going into a whiny and condescending modality. Her live presentations are equally powerful and she definitely delivers exceptionally well. It would be interesting to read other poems of hers that do not fall into the "indignant activist" mode just to see if she is equally comfortable and powerful with less polemical material.
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
Schuyler Peck
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
some of this book is very slam-oriented, very much intended to be read aloud in that particular format, and consequently doesn't translate as well to the printed page.

but much of the remainder of the book is purest gold. Gibson picks my heart up, turns it around, and shows it to me new, all the time. she's a powerful, original, raw, vulnerable, devastatingly *real*, and brilliant poet, and i cannot reccomend her highly enough.
Saiber Saiber
Andrea Gibson takes your heart by her hand, clenches it in her fingers dripping raw with poetry, making you feel all these things that shake you to your bones, rattle you awake. And then gently sews back the wound and says, now you know.

Now I know.

Andrea Gibson is brilliant. She is an extraordinary poet and performer. And this collection is no less.
Donald Armfield
99 pages you could rip one out and pass it around and everyone will find something they like.

Andrea Gibson is one of my new Female poets. Her words hit you with rage and serious matters with her own beliefs behind them.

in "Swing Set" she shows her rage a powerful poem about same sex relations.

Others that I liked Pole Dancing, Anything, Titanic, Every Month and When the Bough Breaks (which is themed poetry based on war)

Great stuff! will be reading more from Ms. Gibson.
Stacy Mar
I read this book in one sitting and love it!

Being openly gay, myself, I found a home of sorts in this book. I felt as if I were having long, intellectual conversations with an old friend.

Recently purchased andrea's second book and am excited to get started!
Rachel Jacquest
A book I keep with me, wherever I go. Andrea Gibson is my wake up call, is the voice in my head that pushes me ever forward, is my lullaby. Because of this book, and her 2nd - 'The Madness Vase' - I no longer care about who I am. I care about who I become.
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
Andrea Gibson takes your heart by her hand, clenches it in her fingers dripping raw with poetry, making you feel all these things that shake you to your bones, rattle you awake. And then gently sews back the wound and says, now you know.

Now I know.

Andrea Gibson is brilliant. She is an extraordinary poet and performer. And this collection is no less.
Donna-Marie Riley
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.
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 away from ourselves.
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
Dave Logghe
Irreverently titled, fantastically written. I don't know that I've ever been more jealous of someone's words.
Amy Drennan
Is there a thing such as too much honesty? Zings you right in the heart of everything. Lovely!
Andrea Gibson is spectacular. She and Eduardo Galeano live next to each other on my bookshelves.
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
Andrea, I love you. Andrea I do. When we're apart my heart beats only for yoooou
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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...

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“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”
“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.”
More quotes…