Spoken WirdJim Powell

Poet Regie Gibson earned some high praise from Indianapolis' own Kurt Vonnegut for his adaptation of KV's work performed at the Steppenwolf Theater in Gibson's hometown, Chicago: "You sing and chant for all of us. Nobody gets left out." Gibson indeed hits some popular notes with his high-energy poetry and unabashed theatrics. In "funknawlegy" he writes: "funk / be ... / a moon lipped lover / with moon shinin tongue / translatin the song / of footsteps heard sneakin / out back doors." Winner of the 1998 National Poetry Slam, Gibson offers eclectic experience built around the spoken word. He founded The Church of the Funky Word in 1999, a musical/literary ensemble that blends world music and international cultural rituals. The artist was also the inspiration for the 1997 New Line Cinema film love jones based largely on the events of his life. He authored the collection Storms Beneath the Skin in 2001.

The poet comes with some other excellent references: He is a frequent lecturer on college campuses, as well as at workshops at poetry clinics across the country, from the Detroit Black Writers Guild to Youth Speaks in San Francisco. In addition, he has toured with the Chicago Mask Ensemble and performed with the Sharnie Theater across Germany.

In short, the poetry-slamming man gets around. He'll be in Indianapolis on Nov. 4 to close the 14th annual session of the Etheridge Knight Festival of the Arts, performing at 7 p.m. in the Indiana History Center. Admission is $10, $7 students. Other local appearances include a lecture at the IUPUI Writing Center that day at 1 p.m., and poetry workshops at the Brightwood Branch Library Nov. 5 in the morning and afternoon. Contact EKFestival@aol.com or call 317-524-6951 for more information.

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