Photography by Mariangela Mihai

GYPSEE YO (Jonida Beqo) is a native of Albania, currently residing in Atlanta, GA. She is a performance artist whose work aims to blur the lines between genres. Her background includes successful projects in theatre, dance, storytelling, and an extensive spoken word and slam poetry resume. She is the regional Southern Queen of Slam (2008), Atlanta’s Slam Champion (2006 – 2009), a three time National Poetry Slam semi-finalist (2006 – 2008), a National Poetry Slam final stage feature in Austin, TX (2007). In addition, she has ranked two times as first runner up in the Women of the World Poetry Slam in Detroit, MI (2009), and Columbus, OH (2011). Her three poetry collections in Albanian I Do Not Fit Inside my Body (1998), The Last Nail (1999), and When Life Grows Roots Inside a Suitcase (2003) are critically acclaimed titles. She has toured internationally and has been recognized for her work in theatre with the Dell’Arte Diversity Award by the American College Theatre Festival and the Kennedy Center in DC (2004). Her work has been highlighted both in her native country and in the US in television and radio features, including Spoken!, Nashville’s NeoSoul Radio, and Atlanta’s Voice of the Arts. In 2012 she was featured in three episodes of NPR’s Snap Judgement and The Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Series.

Since 2002 Gypsee Yo has performed and lead workshops at a number of schools, universities, and churches throughout the US. Keynote performances and lectures include Kennesaw State, Poetry at Georgia Tech curated by Thomas Lux, guest lecturer at Emory University, University of New Mexico, University of Northern Arizona, Berkeley, CUPSI, Atlanta Writers Institute, and artist in residence at Calhoun College. Additionally, poetry readings and slam venues across the nation have chosen to feature her poetry and her performances for audiences of all ages.

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PROJECTS

Harabel – Original one woman show, premiered at Theatrical Outfit (2013)

Tandem – Lit Slam Anthology – featured poet (2012)

Dust Blood Love - Poetry Album (2009)

Firstborn Daughters – Poetry Album ( 2007)

Kitchensinkdrama – Poetry Album ( 2005)

When Life Grows Roots inside a Suitcase – Poetry Collection, Bota Shqiptare Publishing Press, Albania (2005)

The Last Nail – Poetry Collection, TOENA Publishing Press, Albania (1999)

I Do Not Fit Inside My Body – Poetry Collection, TOENA Publishing Press, Albania (1998)

Sinners and Saints: The Women I Know – Original One Woman Play, Lighthouse Productions (2002)

 Passages and Detours; A Storytelling Project – Original Full Length Play, Lighthouse Productions (2008)

Lovestruck, or, Poetic Will – One Woman Play, Lighthouse Productions (2009)

Java Monkey Speaks Anthology II , III - featured poet (2006, 2008)

Pedestal Magazine – Online Literary Magazine – featured poet (2008)

Her Circle EzineOnline Literary Magazine – featured poet  (2008)

Estrology - Women Of the World Poetry Slam Anthology – featured poet (2008)