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Andrea Thompson: Slam Poet

March 11th, 2010     by Desirée O     Comments

Every other Thursday I profile a new incredible woman, each from a different walk of life. Different professions, causes, backgrounds, ethnicities, orientations, and anything/everything else!

So without further delay, let me introduce the wonderful Andrea Thompson…

A popular performer at venues and festivals across North America, Andrea Thompson is a pioneer of the Canadian Slam Poetry scene. Her work has been featured on film, radio, and television; as well as been included in magazines, literary journals and anthologies across Canada. Her Spoken Word CD One, was nominated for a Canadian Urban Music Award in 2005 and she was the host of season 2 of the 13 part television series, Heart of a Poet (Bravo TV, 2007). On top of all that, she’s this week’s Shameless Woman.

What drives you to do what you do?

I’ve heard that the reason we speak about ‘gut instinct’ is because we have, what some have called a “second brain” in that area of our bodies, which deals primarily with processing emotion and intuition. If this is true, then I’d say I’m belly-driven.

How does being a woman empower / challenge you?

I feel empowered by the fact that as a woman living in this particular place and time I have the freedom to create a life of my own choosing. I feel blessed to be able to reap the fruit from the efforts of those who have laboured to create this freedom. I see the result of this as the ability for women to have greater access to the entire spectrum of gender-associated behaviours, and a growing societal appreciation for the more typically ‘feminine’ aspects of human nature.

At the same time however, I am keenly aware of the fact that it was not long ago that women in the west were unable to vote, or were burned at the stake for practicing natural medicine. I am aware that messages of a woman’s value being based on her attractiveness or ability to be super-humanly competent or self-sacrificing still permeate the culture, and as a result our collective consciousness.

What advice would you give to young women who want to follow in your footsteps?

I’d tell them not to follow in anyone’s footsteps, but to create their own path. Then I’d likely paraphrase my favourite Joseph Campbell quote that says; when you do what truly makes your heart full, you get yourself on the track of the life that’s been waiting for you all along. I’d tell them to believe in their dreams, to “follow your bliss, and doors will open where there were no doors before”.

Name one person, place, or thing every young woman should know about?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ Women Who Run with the Wolves. A fabulous book that breaks down the experience of being a women by diving into the primordial pool of myths and fairy tales. It’s one of those transformational books that moves you on both the conscious and sub-conscious level.

What is the most important thing we can do in order to change the world?

Stop fighting what is. A lot of times we focus on what we don’t want, inadvertently giving it more energy. Putting our focus on creation and transformation however, gets our efforts on track with our highest ideals, and makes a space for magic to happen. Another quote comes to mind. Apparently Mother Theresa once said she would never attend an anti-war rally … “but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”

You can check out Andrea’s work on her website by clicking here.

And if you’re interested in submitting to Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out which Andrea is co-editing, you can find the submission guidelines by clicking here.

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