there are days when a flock of starlings are my gender and i am the sky
there are days when my gender speaks in history and i plead it to send me an ancestor who might have lived with a body like mine in a time when there was no fear for being as i two spirit
on the days when my identity and how people see me collide
i am a storm of starlings, i am tumbling tree tops, colluding with rain drops to bring down the weight of my history on the world
i am the sky
i am two spirit murmurations
i am the sky
What does the title, “Emerging poet,” mean to you?
When i hear the term "Emerging poet" i think of a poet who hasn't yet published a collection of poetry as a book or received awards or been given national recognition for their work.
Do you consider yourself an “emerging” poet? Why or why not?
i consider myself an "emerging" poet because i have yet to publish a collection of poetry, but am looking for the opportunity to do so, yet at the same time struggle with this term because it implies that once the recognition comes there is nothing else to strive for. Maybe i read too much into it, but it feels like end goal when i have bigger dreams with my writing than that. i think that as long as we live in a capitalistic society that doesn't value poetry we are encouraged to compete for recognition, but i don't want to compete, i would rather collaborate, meet other artists, share my knowledge and help others get to where i am.
What do you think it takes to be “recognized” in the poetry community?
If you are not white, that is a tough question. The poetry community can feel white, ahistorical and apolitical, and that is not my community. I choose to write about politics, race, nationalism, settler colonialism, gender, sexuality, and disability.
My friends, also poets who are political, historical and people of color, who are considered "recognized" have published books. i have a few that were recognized before their book launched because they toured often and got their name out that way. i will say that the bigger poets appeal to large audiences either by confronting controversial topics head on or by avoiding them altogether, some choose a safer way of talking about such topics by appealing to respectability politics. i think that desirability politics can at times play into who gets known and who doesn't, but sometimes it's the people confronting desirability politics that get the recognition and that makes me happy.
How do you think power politics shape the poetry community?
The poetry community is a microcosm of the world at large and within it exist the same forms of oppression that make up the inequity that we navigate in the world. i have experienced tokenism as a Two spirit, immigrant poet, as a person of color and as queer poet. i have been asked to tone down my politics or to write something that is more universal, i have been told that my writing is not relatable or hard to understand (i write in Spanglish sometimes) so i choose to stay in the political queer people of color community. i write for my people and my people are all people who want to dismantle power and oppression including their own power.
What does community mean to you?
Community means people who provide unconditional support and love to each other. i am lucky to have found a few people like this who i can call my community, but in reality, finding this is hard because we all have shit to work on and not everyone is compatible with each other.
Mestiza/Purepécha poet-scholar FABIAN ROMERO was born in Michoacán, Mexico and raised in the Pacific Northwest. They co-founded and participated in several writing and performance groups including Hijas de Su Madre, Las Mamalogues, and Mixed Messages: Stories by People of Color. Their scholarship, poetry and experimental films are rooted in personal two-spirit, queer and immigrant experiences. Their written work can be found in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Untangling the Knot: Queer Voices on Marriage, Relationships & Identity, Writing the Walls Down: A Convergence of LGBTQ Voices and their self-published chapbook Mountains of Another Kind. romero earned a BA from The Evergreen State College with a focus in writing and social justice. They are currently a Doctoral student in the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Department at the University of Washington.