Monica recommends! Andrea Gibson's second book of poems, The Madness Vase, offers a breathtaking continuation of the poet's most tender and honest work. Their first book, Pole Dancing to Gospel Hymns, opened the door to Gibson's unapologetic voice, yet The Madness Vase manages to take an even more intimate look at the subjects of family, war, spirituality, gender, grief and hope. The poem's topics range from hate crimes to playgrounds, from international conflict to hometowns, from falling in love to the desperation of loneliness.
Gibson's work seizes us by the collar and hauls us inside some of her darkest moments, then releases out the other side. Moments later, we find ourselves inhaling words that fill us with light. Their luminous imagery is a buoy that allows us to resurface from their world clutching new possibilities of our own. Throughout their career, Gibson's poems have always been a call to social justice, but this collection goes beyond awareness. Their images linger in our psyches and entreat us to action. They challenge us to grow into our own skin. The journey may be raw at times but we are continuously left inspired, held, and certain we are not alone.
By the time you finish reading The Madness Vase, you too will believe, "Folks like us/ We've got shoulder blades that rust in the rain/But they are still G-sharp/Whenever our spinal chords are tuned to the key of redemption/So go ahead world/Pick us/To make things better."
By Andrea Gibson. Paperback. 120 pages. Published by Write Bloody Publishing, 2011.