Dominique Christina On The Power Of Poetry and Identity

by Leija Farr

Dominique Christina is a woman of many intersections, stances and words. In the three years she competed, she earned five national poetry slam titles. She is a poet, mother, activist, and educator as well as the many other crossroads to her identity. Not afraid to speak on social justice, her artistry has become a pivotal outline to classrooms and workshops across the country. Christina’s voice is unflinching and her vision is beyond her and beyond now.

I had the chance to interview Dominique Christina ahead of her discussion at Seattle Central Library for International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8. Christina and Cherry Smiley, an activist and advocate for Native women impacted by sexual violence, will begin the important discourse around women of color and the incessant factors around our feminism.

Christina answered questions from a creative angle, based on what her poetry means politically and for womanhood.

Leija Farr: What is your biggest fear pertaining to poetry?
Dominique Christina: I have no fear pertaining to poetry. Fear is not a resource I engage very often anyway.

LF: I know you have given birth. Was there ever another instance in life where giving birth to some sort of artistry or creation gave you that same amount of joy?
DC: I have given birth to four children. And joy was not involved. That’s a mischaracterization of the experience. It wasn’t joy. It was euphoria. And pain. And a sense of pride. And I certainly feel all of those things when I write.

LF: Would you describe your poetry as political? If so, why?
DC: Of course it’s political. Because the political is personal. And poetry is personal. And paradigm shifting. And language affirming. And life-altering. And culture-changing.

LF: Do you think biopolitics contribute to your identity?
DC: I am an occupant of this planet. I am mothered by it. And the mother has been harmed by her children. And in my tradition that is the worst thing you can do so naturally bio politics contribute to my identity. I respect the mother. My identity is tied up with hers and as she suffers so too do I.

LF: If you could give young women one thing what would it be?
DC: Hope. Ferocity. Permission.

LF: Have the power of words ever scared you?
DC: Not once. I told you I don’t scare.

LF: What have you learned in this exchange of you raising your kids and them raising you?
DC: That I am miraculous and so are they. That I chose them and they chose me. It is a humbling, mind-stretching, ego-muting experience. I don’t know as much as I think I do. And also, I know a lot.

LF: What would you say is your most popular poem and how did it impact you writing it?
DC: I don’t know because I don’t relate to the work that way. How I feel about the work has nothing to do with how others feel about it.

LF: What is your self-care after heavy poems?
DC: I am not good at self-care. And all the poems are heavy. I’m mostly grateful that my heart still works well enough to write them and that language is still seismically available to me.

LF: Do you have any final thoughts or projects coming up?
DC: There’s always a project coming up. I’m a Gemini.

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Featured Image: Dominique Christina (Courtesy image)


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