After what felt like a long wait, I finally got my hands on the highly-anticipated new release from Andrea Gibson, Lord of the Butterflies. I’ve always been a huge fan of Gibson’s work, filled with raw honesty and pure heart. This new collection of poems is just that, and so much more. The poet infuses their work this time around with bold themes of gender, relationship with oneself, and growing up queer. It’s easy to tell that these poems are firmly rooted in reality, making them that much stronger. These poems pack a punch, in many different ways. From political stance to love poems, Gibson doesn’t shy away from their true thoughts and feelings, and that is what makes them a powerful writer. Reality fuels these pieces, but the road is smoothed by their fantastic way with words.
One of my favorite pieces is “Good Light,” which contains a stanza that reads “Come tender as the trees / forgiving the books / for asking to be made.” The characterization of the books in this occurrence follows Gibson’s themes of guilt and feeling, in a sense, like a burden. And while their quirky humor radiates throughout this collection, the heavy pieces still stand like skyscrapers, commanding to be seen. “Black and White Angel” is one of those poems, one of several that mention Gibson’s sister. It’s one of the handful of poems that makes this book feel like Gibson’s most personal to put out in the world. And that, I commend them for.
Some more of my favorite pieces from Lord of the Butterflies: “All the Good In You,” “Give Her,” “Letter to the Editor,” “Living Proof,” “First Love,” “Orlando,” and “Diagnosis.”
I couldn’t recommend this book of poems more; I can’t deny that I’m a bit biased, considering I’d recommend any of Andrea Gibson’s books, but Lord of the Butterflies is filled with passion, love, fear, anger, and a plethora of other emotions that Gibson seamlessly spins together into a welcoming web of comfort and warmth. After reading this, I feel even more like sharing a hug with them and never letting go.
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