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Rob Gibson, The Poet Who Brings His Personality to His Art

What year are you? 

Literally, 21. Within context, I am a Senior, Class of 2012.

What's your major? 

I’m majoring in Communication Arts with a focus in Illustration and a minor in Creative Writing.

What do you think you're best known for around campus? 

My poetry, my hats or my hair.

How did you get into spoken word? 

In high school, I would go with my friends to Tropical Soul Café on Tuesday nights, if we had enough money. I started reading my raps/poems from the page and gradually began to perform off-book. Those experiences, along with being an adamant watcher of Def Poetry Jam, impelled me to compete in the Mr. Hermitage pageant with spoken word as my talent. Then, in 2008, I came to VCU and my friend Chris Johnson introduced me to a little Richmond-based group by the name of Slam Nahuatl. I latched on to them and voila! Here I am! 

Compare yourself as a spoken word performer when you first started to where you are now? 

First I was afraid. I was petrified. Kept thinking I could never live by speaking my mind. But then I spent so many nights, thinking how that thought was wrong. And I worked hard! And I learned how to speak my poems! So now I’m Black! Blacker than Space!” Sorry about that…well, not really.  To answer the question: I am the same person I was 4 years ago, only with a little more confidence and exposure. O yea, and I have MUCH better stage presence than in the beginning.

Do you have regular themes in your poetry/art? Yes. If so, what are they and why? 

Life as a Black male living in a capitalistic society, music, childhood, love, heartache, the moon, the sun, the wind, Richmond, space, poetrees, blah, blah, blah.

What or who inspires you the most? 

Seeing the ones who look up to me find their purpose and challenge themselves to take the next step.  

How has art impacted your life? 

Art has allowed me to open up and express my innermost feelings as self-healing process and as a way to heal and inspire others. 

How has theater impacted your life? 

Theatre has pushed me to be more comfortable in my own body, think quickly, be aware of my environments, take risks and not be so serious. Also, being involved with theatre has helped me rediscover my feet. Trapped in my sneakers and socks, those nocturnal critters would not see the light of day! But now I am fascinated with exploring different surfaces with my feet and wiggling my toes in the wind.

If you had to pick just one hobby, which would it be and why? 

Word search puzzles! I end up searching for words the same way I would if I were writing a poem. 

What's been your greatest accomplishment and why?

When a dear friend told me that a random conversation I had with them (and a poem I recited during that conversation) saved them from ending their life. “Why” is pretty self-explanatory. 

Describe yourself in three words. 


What's something that no one knows about you? 

I’m not a rapper. 


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