Wil Gibson

Harvest the Dirt



Gritty, vivid, at times harsh, Wil Gibson's poetry collection, Harvest the Dirt, is a tour-de-force of the American dream-nightmare. Traveling the back roads of double-wide trailers and mobile meth labs, Gibson arrives at a new truth and realism, a pride in the dirt from which you come.

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Praise for Harvest the Dirt

Harvest the Dirt is the meat section of the grocery store, pure bloody protein...Gibson takes it all on in Harvest the Dirt - poverty, race, violence, drugs, country music and so on. He does it with the slow grace of a poetic Richard Pryor...Poetry like this can make you squirm in your seat and that is a good thing. A damned good thing.—Michael Dennis, Today's Book of Poetry read full review


Harvest the Dirt is the fuck-you-listen-to-me reminder that life is real, and raw, and constantly in a state of push and pull and break. Gibson doesn't need metaphors to talk about drugs and despair and life. There's no hidden meaning. This is not a collection of self-help pieces. He's not going to tell you that anything will ever be better. What Gibson will do though is craft a guide of real-world, worst-case scenarios, so that maybe you'll give a damn about yourself, or the world around you, or art, or whatever it is to which you yearn to cling. This is Jim Carroll and William Burroughs meets George Carlin and Sam Kinison in a dark alley for an I'll-raise-you-a-story kind of raw. This is not a book of poetry; this is an experience.Chris Margolin, The Poetry Question


Harvest the Dirt is a gritty, relentless testament to the survival song that is Wil Gibson. Each poem is a bloody ride out of the city that birthed you; a psalm in the name of recovery; an open window on a stormy day somewhere in the middle of this country. This book is filled with a man's truth and, while it isn't always pretty, that truth never apologizes.—Carrie Rudzinski, author of The Shotgun Speaks and The History of Silence


Here, now, in 2015, there is an eye on race, southern culture, and the relationship between the two that is as focused as I remember it being. That eye is large, and general. Wil Gibson's Harvest the Dirt is specific, and on the street. But no less large. Harvest the Dirt is proof that country music doesn't need a fiddle, a pedal steel, or even sounds at all. All country music needs is a heart breaking or a heart trying to mend, and a bent ear. Enjoy the listen.—Justin Wells, singer / songwriter


Full of should-have-saids and self portraits, Wil Gibson's newest collection gives a vivid look at the life he has lead. It is harsh. It is visceral. Most importantly, it is truth. Harvest the Dirt captures the purest of moments and the most honest of self-reflections through remembrances and images of an universal truth about the America we live in. It is an insightful read of contemporary poetry in an unrestricted and accessible tongue.—Katrina K. Guarascio, Swimming with Elephants Publications



Wil Gibson was born from a good idea and a bottle of bourbon and raised in some of the poorest communities northern Illinois and eastern Arkansas have to offer. He is a proud, mistake-prone, father of four.


Wil Gibson, Harvest the Dirt

Publication date October 20 2015


ISBN: 978-0985731779

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Author photograph by Vanessa Vrtiak