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.
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.