Poets of SMITTEN Speak: Crystal Kinistino

Crystal Kinistino is a poet and lover of the written word. She has been previously published in Decanto Poetry Magazine and Indie Blue’s “We Will Not Be Silenced” Anthology. She maintains a feminist blog @ https://medium.com/the-velvet-fist. She is inspired by the works of Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton. She is a proud lesbian, radical feminist and half-blood Cree woman residing in the treaty #1 territory of Canada.

How does being an Indigenous lesbian affect your writing?

My personal perspective as it pertains to my writing is female-centric, by that I mean it is intrinsic to being born and raised female in a colonial and patriarchal society. Being a half-breed Cree woman and a lesbian, I don’t fit into the narrative of a conventional or hetero-normative story-line. I have always felt as though I walk a path where these disparate worlds converge. A lot of the themes I explore represent this dichotomy. I explore traditional Indigenous teachings as symbolic in nature and spirituality. I also speak of inter-generational trauma concerning Canada’s genocidal history as it relates to my own resilience and survival.
When you found out SMITTEN was about women who loved women, without the emphasis on erotica that is usually the case – could you immediately think of ways to express that love through writing?
Many of my poems contain an element of the erotic. The confusion comes when people equate what is erotic with what is sexual as the two are not necessarily the same. I am a lover of women and that experience is not contingent merely on sex. The unfortunate thing is that many people equate lesbian content with either erotica or sex when often this view is very shallow and reductive. It seems for some, it is difficult to conceive of a genuine love between women. Smitten is unique in that it allows for the depth and courage of this experience to be conveyed, which in turn permits such stereotypes to be challenged.
Do you feel the lesbian voice was lost or co-opted by the larger LGBTQ movement and if so, do projects like this help change that?
 

It is important as words matter and they have meaning. Who we are as females has often been co-opted and colonized by the patriarchy, and this remains true. People are free to express themselves along any spectrum of perceived gender and that experience is valid in itself, but we mustn’t conflate gender and sex, as the two, though closely related are not the same. Being a lesbian concerns an inherent female reality which is unique in and of itself. I was grateful to see Smitten as a project put emphasis on that, as it does matter since the lesbian voice has often been excluded from many sectors of society.

What does it mean to you to be part of something like SMITTEN and have your work alongside other women who love women?​

It means I get to be a part of a collective of women who are courageous and creative in their candor. This proves we are not just a fantasy in some unimaginative man’s head. We have variegated and complex experiences which are individual and unique. By gathering our voices from across the oceans and the ages, SMITTEN has allowed us to reclaim the narrative of women loving women in a way that is authentic and empowering.

Crystal Kinistino maintains a stunning blog on WordPress and her unparalleled poetry will be among other talented poets in the anthology SMITTEN coming out at the end of this month. SMITTEN will be available via all good book stores. For latest information on SMITTEN please follow the SMITTEN page on FB

11 thoughts on “Poets of SMITTEN Speak: Crystal Kinistino

  1. Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    SMITTEN poet, Crystal Kinistino – On being part of SMITTEN: “It means I get to be a part of a collective of women who are courageous and creative in their candor. This proves we are not just a fantasy in some unimaginative man’s head. “

  2. Hell YES, what a great sentence:
    “This proves we are not just a fantasy in some unimaginative man’s head. We have variegated and complex experiences which are individual and unique.”

    Counting down the days… x

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