The Poetry Hub: Olivia Gatwood

Vivian Coleman, Staff Writer

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Poetry may not teach you to “bottle fame, brew glory, or stop death”; however, the spoken art form can “bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses.” Welcome to the Poetry Hub, a safe haven for those to discuss pieces ranging from spoken word to Dylan Thomas. Whether you are “raging against the dying of the light” or against societal norms, this is the place for you. This week’s spotlight artist is a woman of countless words and astonishing equity ideals. She is a nationally ranked slam poet and co-founder of the “Speak Like a Girl” collection alongside Megan Falley. She is a known feminist who uses her poetry as a medium for her activism. Her name is none other than Olivia Gatwood.

Before Gatwood became the big and proud award-winning feminist, she was merely a high schooler that used poetry to express her emotions. Some of her first published works include “The Lover as a Cult.” It begins with a cotton dress and sitting, “always sitting on the cusp of spring.” She paints a masterpiece conveying the role of a demur and malleable woman before confessing that, “Maybe, the only reason we fall in love is to see what we look like to someone else.” In this poem, Gatwood conveys the feminine aspect of attempting to please someone that was not meant for you: “What am I, if not yours?”

The following joint poem between Falley and Gatwood entitled “Collapse the Economy” contrasts drastically from “The Lover as a Cult” as it iterates a call to action, “Studies predicted that if women stopped buying cosmetics products and services, every economy in the world would collapse overnight. This is a call to collapse the economy.” “Collapse the Economy” is a savvy poem dedicated to ensuring that insecurities brought about by cosmetics and society’s intake on beauty are disregarded. The poem ends with sarcastic, witty banter by thanking make-up corporations for creating vanishing cream. “That way, you’ll never see us coming.”

This last poem is a coveted piece to The Super Mario Brothers franchise lovers. In the joint poem “Princess Peach Speaks,” both Falley and Gatwood are once again preaching about the virtues of freedom regarding the feminine mystique. This piece begins with gratitude to Mario for once again rescuing Peach. However, Peach isn’t as sincere a she states, “You keep saying it was a lot of hard work, how you almost lost all of your 99 lives, how I should be grateful, but from my corner of the castle— it looked a lot like adventure.” Peach continues by playing demur as she compares herself to a kitten trapped within a tree and laments about entering another form of imprisonment: matrimony. Peach expresses her exasperation as she explains that despite the frailty of her dress, princesses are women that work. In comparison, she is wealthier than Mario. “When she needs her toilet unclogged, she’ll call you, Mario.” However, the atmosphere shifts as Peach explains the culture of her relationship with Bowzer. “Oh, you thought princess was trapped by Bowzer? Maybe, Princess hired Bowzer as a bouncer because she didn’t have time to reject you at the door. […] I should have stayed with Bowser because at least he called himself Monster.” Peach then calls out those who practice rape culture and “all the states in America where it is legal to rape your wife.” Gatwood finishes with, “Here’s a level. You can beat it. Get a life.”

Despite the obstacles faced as we go about our own mundane tasks, remember you have a voice. Thank you for tuning into Poetry Hub and do not forget that everyone can implement change if given the correct outlet.