Senior Albert Gibbs’ chosen career doesn’t fit the common stereotype of a young black man. That is, he’s not about to become a professional athlete or crank out a new hip-hop album.
Instead, the 23-year-old wants to explore marketing, visit Paris again and dabble in creative writing – interests that society doesn’t commonly associated with young black men.
At a book signing held Tuesday, Gibbs’ first, self-published book of poetry, Observations, is one of his interests that came into realization.
Gibbs said while studying abroad in Paris in fall 2004, he thought about compiling the book of poetry that’s now available at Amazon.com and Booksurge.com.
“I was sitting at the Eiffel Tower one afternoon and I saw a couple lying on the grass underneath the Tower having a good time,” he said. “I saw them and thought, ‘That’s what life is all about.'”
Inspired by that couple in Paris, Gibbs wrote the introductory piece to his book, “The Couple In Love.”
Throughout the 93-page book, Gibbs writes about his observations on life, black culture, love and pain. Gibbs said he internalizes different situations that he may face and shapes them into literary form.
The poem “Goodbye” is an example. Gibbs describes a guy who decides to leave his immature girlfriend despite her beauty, which “will make any man stare until (he’s) cross-eyed.”
The soon-to-be man in the poem won’t let his girlfriend hinder his transition into adulthood, so he ends the relationship.
“That pretty face and nice body is going to wear off,” he said. “You’re going to need more from a woman than just those things.”
But readers will find that a majority of Gibbs’ poetry in the book centers on romantic relationships.
Gibbs said he used those examples because love is the most powerful emotion and because a man-woman interaction can draw out more emotions than other types of relationships.
Aside from poetry about romance, Gibbs said affirming a woman’s worth is important to him because many women have developed hate and resentment for men.
In the poem “My Beautiful Black Sister,” he says, “Brothers don’t always show the love and respect we have for you.” So if a woman isn’t appreciated by her boyfriend, Gibbs said he wants to be first to say, “I love you.”
Senior Nina Agressot said she’s touched by lyrics like that.
“He’s very detailed with everything and very honest. (I like) that gentlemen out there see women in a higher manner, and when they actually appreciate those things, it hits home.”
Graduate student Melissa Pass said, “In everyday conversation, Gibbs is concerned about others’ well-being instead of about himself.”
Modest about his poetic skills, Gibbs said he’s not an extraordinary, well-educated writer. He said he’s a person who wants to put his spin on day-to-day issues.
“I’d like people to see me as an average guy who’s doing something with one of the many gifts that God has blessed me with,” Gibbs said.