CURATOR’S COMMENT FROM TAYLOR MALI: Both of these poets are veterans of Page Meets Stage—albeit with different partners before—so they are familiar with the format. They are also familiar with each other’s work. Marie Howe was teaching at the Palm Beach Poetry Festival when Andrea Gibson was invited to be one of the performance poets. Gibson confessed on the stage that before she came out, she used to give Marie Howe poems to girls she liked just so she could watch their faces while they read them. When Andrea and I talked over a year ago, she said she would be willing to return to New York City to do Page Meets Stage, but it would have to be during June of 2014 (we don’t normally have pairings during June, July, or August). I promised I would get her a partner that would make her happy, but when I told her it would be Marie Howe, she cried (happy tears, I hope). WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN THE PAIRING: Pay attention to both poets reverence for the divine. Howe is Catholic, and that brand of spirituality (with tweaks & complications) is manifest in her work. Gibson has at LEAST twice been encircled by well-meaning evangelical Christians who want to “pray for her,” and that . . . GENEROSITY OF SPIRIT has informed much of her work. Lastly, if it’s a beautiful June night, the DL Lounge will retract the roof of the third floor and the ceiling will be heaven!
Marie Howe wowed readers and critics alike with her first book of poems, The Good Thief. Selected by Margaret Atwood as the 1989 winner of the National Poetry Series, the book explored the themes of relationship, attachment, and loss in a uniquely personal search for transcendence. Said Atwood, “Marie Howe’s poetry doesn’t fool around…these poems are intensely felt, sparely expressed, and difficult to forget; poems of obsession that transcend their own dark roots.” Howe sees her work as an act of confession or of conversation. She says simply, “Poetry is telling something to someone.”
Andrea Gibson is not gentle with her truths. It is this raw fearlessness that has led her to the forefront of the spoken word movement– the first winner of the Women’s World Poetry Slam –Gibson has headlined prestigious performance venues coast to coast with powerful readings on war, class, gender, bullying, white privilege, sexuality, love, and spirituality.