Kiki Nicole (Kiarra) is a first-year at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia. Originally from Baltimore, she currently resides in Charlotte, North Carolina. Kiki is a poet whose work stems mostly from personal experience. She is a regular contributor of Bitchtopia and The Pulp Zine. Kiki describes writing poetry as a method of self-care: “The poetry I publish to Bitchtopia always has a foundation in the concepts of feminism and social justice; I use my poetry to express commentary I can’t always say aloud.”
Kiki graciously answered some questions about her poetry and her experiences being a feminist for Bitchtopia:
How did you become involved with Feminism/Bitchtopia/Pulp Girls?
My intro to feminism came about when I made a tumblr in ninth grade and was able to have access to resources to concepts and ideas that was never open to me previously, although I think I grew up in a very feminist household, consisting of mainly women and maybe a male cousin or two, who never put any limits on my dreams. I felt very restless and pathetic in Senior Year when I realized I wasn’t really doing anything or going anywhere with my work. I started looking for places to submit my poems other than Rookie Mag (who I never heard back from) and stumbled upon the magnificence that is Bitchtopia and The Pulp Zine. I emailed both asking to be a regular contributor and here I am!
Where do you go to find poetry/who are some of your inspirations?
I spend a lot of time loitering in the buttonpoetry and brave new voices/youthspeaks channels on Youtube and I grew up listening to the Def Poetry Jam episodes my mother played on repeat. Whenever I had an assigned English textbook in school, I would copy down the poems I found that I liked on my own ( I now cultivate a love for the poetry that came out of the English Romanticism movement; I love me some John Keats) and I like to read free eBooks of poems on Scribd in my spare time. Right now, I feel really inspired by Warsan Shire, Nayyirah Waheed and Saul Williams.
Most of your work for Bitchtopia centers on Intersectional Feminism. How would you define a good Intersectional Feminist/Ally?
To me, Intersectionalist Feminists/Womanists should allow safe spaces for anyone, regardless of their identities, to be open about their oppression/injustice where it rightfully exists. Allies, or even those who identify as Intersectional Feminists/Womanists, should never be dismissive and should strive to be open, accepting, and willing to understand. We should recognize that differences exist and that we cannot eliminate them, rather we can actively work to recognize the disparities that exist and work within them.
What are some of your biggest challenges you have come across as a Feminist and a writer?
The biggest challenge I face daily, it seems, is trying to overcome all of my internalized oppression. It seems to be more apparent whenever I’m writing fiction for my Intro to Creative Writing course and I want there to be a subtle influence of a current social issue or I want there to be an underlying message. I believe writers have a lot of power in their pens and that is a lot to handle. Often, I find myself beginning stories about thin, heterosexual, White women and men and on second thought, I add a token (heterosexual) Person of Color in, as habit. We live in a world where this is a norm and as a writer and a Feminist, I know there is so much more out there and I’m just adding to the invisibility of people like me. That being said, I often find myself being the only one in the class to incorporate race/gender/class issues into my writing, but I feel as if it is entirely too important not to do so.
Are there any other poets or artists that you feel deserve more exposure, and you would like to shout out?
I’d like to shout out some fellow Pulp Babes: artists Paam Sustaita, Saffa Khan, Essine Kilpatrick-Boe, and Molly McAlea and poet Chey Addison. Also, shout out to both Kate Monica and Alysia Harris and their poems!
What are your plans for your poetry in the future?
I really want to never stop writing, which is a pit I fall into quite often. I want to continue challenging myself and what I can write but I also want my poems to become more and more visible and recognized. I want my words to start to make a difference.
Would you like to share the story of a feminist in your life? Email Btopia.Mag@gmail.com for more information.