SPOKEN WORD POET and author Robert Gibson always has stacks of books in his car to jot down words. (Reco Moore)
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PASSIONATE. HYPNOTIC. EROTIC.
Robert “Passion Poet” Gibson’s wordplay entices and envelops you, painting pictures and conjuring images of heated bodies between sheets, and other images that are not for the faint-hearted.
“I inhale words and exhale poetry,” he said as he sat down with EASY magazine for a chat at a popular eatery.
“My pieces reflect the mood I’m in. I am passion. I am passionate about everything. I use my name Passion not only for sex although I focus on sex right now. Passion, as I explain to people, is used in its complete meaning – intense emotion in any form. I write poetry when I’m going through something really intense,” he said.
As lovers celebrate Valentine’s Day this Saturday, love, passion and all that it entails, the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) awardee’s collection of poems – Erotica – could help some people express their love and desire for their significant other or a crush . . . without being crude or crass.
While Robert finds it easier to write these days about sex, food and spirituality, he wasn’t always in the right head space to do so.
“I never articulated it in this manner until I started going to spoken word events and working towards becoming a spoken word artist. In 2011, that was the first time I ever went to NIFCA and just before that time I met [Depstu] DJ Simmons and Adrian Green. I’ve been writing since I was 14 years old and I would write and put down. While I was married I stopped writing for a while but after my divorce I needed an outlet and I started writing again,” he said.
The father of two “beautiful” sons, who ran around in the play park while he spoke about his work, was married for eight years but “it didn’t work out”.
“I found myself being home and depressed and somebody invited me for an open mic which I’d never heard about before. I love poetry so I went. DJ Simmons was the person hosting and I was hooked. From there I kept going and then one day I decided I would try my hand at a piece. The only piece at that time I knew by heart was called Whispers.
“The nerves hit me and in the middle of the piece I forgot my entire second verse. What happened then forged me to become what I am today ’cause when I was on stage I was utterly embarrassed. I had thoughts in my head of Night At The Apollo so I’m expecting a hook to come and drag me off stage any moment but what happened is everybody started to clap, giving me encouragement, telling me keep going, and I got back into the groove,” he recalled.
He said the patrons’ encouragement was the turning point as he was still battling the depression from the divorce. From that moment he started focusing on his poetry.
Robert said unabashedly that his favourite topic is women but he also loves jazz and has written about five pieces about the music.
“Every time I go to a jazz concert I come back feeling the need to write. In fact the poem I remember by heart is Play Jazzman Play, an improv, and it was in 2011 when I went to Christmas Jazz and the finale was so . . . . I was pumped. It was midnight when I came home and I could not sleep, I got up, sat at my computer and typed. It came in five minutes but I still couldn’t sleep.
“The Beginning Of Ascension, another piece, the framework was another five minutes then I went sleep, woke up and finished it the Sunday morning. Both those poems were off my high. I tell people all the time if I ever have to believe in reincarnation I want to come back as a saxophone.”
Writing for him has always been cathartic and Robert’s inspiration is drawn from something he sees, the way someone talks and words. As he explained, he can build a poem around a single word.
“I haven’t written this yet but Devotion is in my head and when I get the inspiration to figure out how to build it, it will end up being the title of the piece and I’ll write a poem around it,” he added.
Some of the titles of his poems can fool you into thinking he means something sexual. Take Luscious, for instance, which won him a NIFCA silver medal. It is about “an intensely joyous eating experience” but if you listen to it you probably wouldn’t get that until the last line.
“When I ate that ham cutter I was delirious for about three hours. It was so good for some strange reason. I’ve always eaten ham cutters but this one was so good”, he said with a laugh.
Robert lives by two words – live passionately – opting to do what makes him happy. So when people started calling for him to produce a book he did it.
“They were like ‘When can I see a book’. People that I mentor said, ‘Look, Robert. I done with this foolishness. I want a book in my hand. Do something about it’. I decided one day to stop procrastinating and just do it. Most of the poems in Erotic were written over a year. I wrote constantly and during that period of my life I wrote a poem a day for the girlfriend I had at that time. In truth and in fact, the book was done in a month, it was more about what pieces to leave out.
“The same thing with Seduction, which is out now on Kindle. What was left over from Erotic plus a couple more became Seduction. I didn’t do it thinking about people not liking Bajan authors. I understand that poetry by itself is a harder genre to sell than novels worldwide. I have not written in prose in a while. I can still do it but I think in verse,” he explained.
He has plans to build an erotic empire – no Playboy mansions Hugh Hefner style, though. It would be something more simplistic where his Passion Poet logo would be placed on T-Shirts and underwear.
“In my head I have a serious empire. As my friends say, world denomination is the plan,” he said confidently.
That’s still a way off but for now, when he’s performing sensual pieces, speaking words and taking his audience on the poetic journey, he sincerely hopes that they all have “an intense experience”.
“When I do a piece that is serious in nature I still want you to have that intensity but when I do a sex piece I intend for you to have sex. In Erotic, I have an adaptation of the disclaimer that I say on stage. I say: ‘Passion Poet is not to be held legally responsible for any population explosions that happen nine months after any performance’.
“When I see people react to my poetry it does something. It gives me energy. I think I say what people want to say but they can’t, they want to but they’re afraid. I don’t know why but I would love to know,” he said.
Until he finds out, Robert says he will always remain passionate about his poetry. (Green Bananas Media)