You Better Be Lightning

Button Poetry. Nov. 2021. 128p. ISBN 9781943735990. pap. $18. POETRY
Prominent on the spoken-word poetry scene, Gibson (Lord of the Butterflies) uses incisive language, whiplash vernacular, and strong narrative flow to contemplate the self in a fraught world, often proceeding by insightful near-epigram (“Bitterness is the easiest way/ to leave this world having had only/ a near life experience”). Whether recording the number of goosebumps raised by kindness to animals or a friend’s struggle with pain, plumbing relationships joyous or difficult, or facing the challenges of being queer (“Burning for eternity seemed five times/ more doable than another day/ in the school lunchroom”), these poems are refreshingly forthright but never self-serving.

VERDICT An accomplished collection from queer feminist poet Gibson; for all audiences.
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