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© 2018 Trashweezle Art Collective

K MCCLENDON

20 • MINNESOTA

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(ALWAYS MISS. K ON STAGE)

Miss. K is a full time college student at Hamline University. They are getting their BFA and majoring in psychology. They focus on writing works that protest oppression and encourage self adoration.


Last year Miss. K won 4 Button Poetry Live Slams and several college slams at Hamline and The U of M. In June Miss. K was a representative on the Twin Cities team at the Regional Rustbelt Poetry Slam sponsored by Button Poetry. In October they won Button Poetry's Individual World Poetry Slam Qualifier.

They represented the Twin Cities at the Individual World Poetry Slam in San Diego California. They were the youngest competitor and took 40th place out of 84.

In August Miss. K opened for Rachel Wiley upon her request at Ice house in Minneapolis. They were also featured in Button Poetry's year in review show alongside Khary Jackson, Rob Mitchel, and Spencer Brownstein.

Their poem "Protest" was published in the 2018 Tru Art Speaks anthology. They have two poems featured on Button Poetry's YouTube Channel with combined views of 30 thousand.

(MISS. K)

WHAT DO YOU DO?

 

I am a spoken word artist. I also am an Independent contractor for the publishing company Button Poetry which is also based out of Saint Paul.

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THE FUTURE?

 

Touring, publishing, and performing more over all. Also writing for TV shows!
 

EMAIL MISS. K FOR BOOKING:
Kmcclendon01@hamline.edu

CLICK HERE

"MY FATHER"

"TO BE BLACK IN AMERICA"

FOR MISS. K'S POEMS

Promise Me Heaven, But Don’t Lie.

“She rings like a bell through the night,
and wouldn't you love to love her.”

-Fleetwood Mac Rhiannon

 

Rhiannon sounds like summer, the way it drips out of the car windows like ice cream melt. The way it stickys the fingers. Makes you feel like the sun is out, even when you are staring at the moon. It commands the foot to tap, makes a mockery of stillness. The chords are so clean they make the breathe in your chest sit prettier. The highway is America's veins, and they don’t call where I come from the heartland for nothin’. Sometimes the road seems endless, and maybe it is. Ancient blood pump. I can’t see over the tops of these fertile corn fields, but every direction in Illinois has a sunset, as wide and purple as it was before the buffalo lived between fences. Every poem is about home, a going, leaving, or staying. I am made of staying, and sometimes that is the whole problem. I don't know how to leave love. I want my heaven promised at the end of a dirt road. Grandfather young enough the throw hay bales again. Want my heaven to be made entirely of leaving when it is necessary. Maybe what I’m saying is heaven is now, on this highway between St. Cloud and St. Paul, singing ‘she rules her life like a bird in flight’ harmony, as Sydney throws her head back on the soprano notes. What I am saying is I enjoy the work of living. Its dirty fingernails, and bruised wrists, its unimaginably soft underbelly. How it pays off in lifetime, the way it cackles and begs me to stay.

WHAT ROLE DOES THE POET HAVE IN SOCIETY?
The bridge between what is and what could be.

WHY DID YOU WANT TO BE A POET? I wanted to share my experience with the world and give people something they can relate toand something that might make them feel understood


WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON? As of right now I am working on getting my BFA with a focus in poetry at Hamline University I'm also working on a few video project as well as a chapbook. 

WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
I was influenced greatly by all of the poet's that are features with Button Poetry mainly some of those are Sierra DeMulder (My mentor), Blythe Baird, and Adam Henze.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MAIN THEMES IN YOUR WRITING?


I write about my experience and my everyday life. Common themes that I deal with are Blackness, queerness, mental illness.

THE PERSONAL
IS POLITICAL

Interrogation of The Trees, with Wavering Trust.

 

“The old folks would break out the Moonshine and celebrate another day they didn't have to pull the body of someone they love from the river, and I say river because I want you to always be able to look at the trees without crying” -Hanif Willis Abdurraqib

 

I open my mouth to speak, my cheeks full of wildflowers, dirt dug throat, water pitcher for a stomach. i cry and roots grow into my chest. i've got a heart of thickets. The river has a hard time holding the body. What is silent finds itself choked onto the bank with the rocks and crayfish. My hands attempt to till the land but instead become it. The red clay sifts through my fingers until my fingers sift with it. i do not know where the land ends and i begin. One day i will die and there is no better fertilizer. Plants sinking their teeth into soft flesh, bloom into brilliant fists.

 

She stands before me, full, her bark wrinkled. Skin in the shape of a prayer. Braille gospel. Her branches reach toward warmth, or the light, or the sun, some call it miracle or god. Oh this holy expansion. Once a younger me thought trees could not move. How beautiful an ignorance, to think you have to travel the world to see it.

 

i open my mouth to speak, but fear i sit at her trunk a dog with no teeth. i pace and decide to finally choke out my question. How could you? Your body brown too, your body strong and flailing. You able to carry men held by their own arms or neck, you grow so effortlessly and you just stood there.

 

Straight back spine, supple silent succulent succumbing to standing still. I stand before her shaking.

 

Wait for an answer.

 

She stiffens the way trees do when you pick their bark off in chunks.

 

She say, who are you to question my tragedy? Have I asked you about the mouth of your trauma? Have I ask you to you to explain how the teeth look? Now you come before me a child younger than the last knot I grew, asking how could I? You think this growth effortless?

 

Before your bones stopped their swell, when you were still marking the top of your head in doorways, did your knees bend without growl? How badly did your shins hurt at the prospect of height? You think what little stature you got brought pain?  I’ve got meters on you, chile. Cut me open I’ve got scars in more rings than you have doubts. And it hurts still. How could I? I've got roots deeper than you can track your grandmother's on your White side. They drug your father's blood cross oceans, saltwater slick, and only speak in chains, got whips for hands, and you think they gave me a chance to run?

 

The only fruit I’ve born was not my own. It was nothing as beautiful as adoption, more like how cowbirds push the eggs of other birds out of the nest only to lay their own eggs in its place, leaving the unsuspecting mother to take care of that which is not her own. She doesn't know to mourn until it's too late to find the body. And they left me like that, rotting, branches raised to the most unholy sky.

WHAT IS ONE THING NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT YOU?
 

I can juggle and I can say my ABC’s backwards in less than 3 seconds

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT SOME EVENTS THAT HAVE HELPED SHAPE WHO YOU ARE AS A POET?


Attending Slam Camp (look up the details its amazing), and traveling to poetry tournaments.


HOW HAS YOUR WORK CHANGED OVER TIME?

 

It has gotten a stronger voice with more purpose.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR HIGH-SCHOOL SELF?


OMG ummm, Id say keep your chin up baby your wildest dreams are going to come true. Also leave him lol, also ur really gay, start loving yourself.


WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE STUCK ON A POEM?

 

I leave it for awhile and then read it over and over to catch the flow again.