The Poetry Project

Gabrielle Civil

Gabrielle Civil, a black woman with short natural hair, stands on a stage with one bright theater light hanging to the right of her head. The effect is warm and golden. She wears a black sleeveless tank top, tucked into a black skirt with small multicolored polka dots under black mesh. She also wears black stockings festooned with black stars and the most sparkly silver ankle boots. She holds her hands in prayer position, her fingers at her chin, slightly tilted to the sky. She is readying to begin.
video still from "Yawo's Dream" (courtesy of the poet)

Gabrielle Civil is a black feminist performance artist, poet, and writer, originally from Detroit, MI. Her performance memoirs include Swallow the Fish (2017), Experiments in Joy (2019), (ghost gestures) (2021), the déjà vu (2022), and In & Out of Place (2022). Her writing has also appeared in Black in the Middle, Teaching Black, Migrating Pedagogies, New Daughters of Africa, Kitchen Table Translation, and Experiments in Joy: a Workbook. A 2019 Rema Hort Mann Los Angeles Emerging Artist, she teaches at the California Institute of the Arts. The aim of her work is to open up space.