I am deeply excited to announce Smitten by Indie Blu(e) press is planned to be available this month. It is a breathtaking collection of poetry by women for women. It features a number of LGBTQ+ poets, including myself, and aims to represent non-sexualized LGBTQ+ love between women. You can read the pre-press reviews of Smitten here and here. As a part of the marketing campaign, Candice Louisa Daquin from Indie Blu(e) Press has been interviewing poets in the collection on poetry, love, and LGBTQ+ representation. I was lucky enough to be interviewed by her. You can read my interview and others on her website. Here’s what I had to say.
Do you find any stereotypes in lesbian/bi work that you would personally remove?
The over-sexualization of LGBTQ+ women is definitely an issue. There is a stigma that LGBTQ+ relationships are inherently dirtier than straight ones, especially when it comes to woman loving women. It is hard to find examples in the media of women who love women that aren’t sexualized. I think this book, in particular, does an excellent job of keeping the love without the erotica, which is a step in the right direction.
Do you only write LGBTQ+ narratives?
I’ve found the phrase “art imitates life” is the best answer to this. When I wrote my first novel, none of the characters were LGBTQ+. The years leading up to my coming out, I found my characters to be more diverse. Now, with my most current project Dead in Yellow, the cast is primarily LGBTQ+. I did this for two reasons. First, I am surrounded mainly by LGBTQ+ individuals, and so, I write what I know. Second, I think having diverse voices is essential to end bigotry.
Did you ever want to be a voice for the lesbian/bi community? If so, why?
Ever since I was a child, I have been an activist. My parents used to joke that I would probably end up in jail for protesting one day. I’ve always wanted to help, and I would take being a voice for the lesbian/bi community to be a great honor. This is a community of strength and resilience. The people who came before us, such as Marsha P. Johnson, have paved the way for me to have the ability to speak, and to think I could do that for someone else brings me joy. However, for now, I will continue to simply be the voice for myself.
Your poems in SMITTEN were excellent, why did you choose these particular poems, and what did you hope they would convey to readers?
The poems chosen for SMITTEN were written to be a part of a collection titled Her Lips Change Seasons, which explores sapphic love, loss, and lips. The first “Sunburned Shoulders” I wrote to encapsulate how it feels to yearn for someone’s love. It’s hard to tell if someone is a lesbian/bi/queer, and in turn, a lot of women who love women find themselves pining without action. The second “Andy & KP” I wrote for two of my closest friends. They have been together for three years now, and their love showed me how to have a nourishing relationship. I think it is important for there to be examples of healthy LGBTQ+ love in literature, which is why I picked this piece to submit.
How does loving a woman differ from loving a man?
As a bisexual woman, I have dated both men and women. I think a difference in dating is the way we are socialized to date. While there are always people that break these barriers, men and women are socialized very differently. With some men, this socialization comes out when they date. They tend to take charge and relish making decisions. While dating a woman feels more like a partnership. There isn’t anyone person in charge; you make decisions together. But the main difference is, when I’m dating a man, I’m not afraid to hold his hand in public.
Smitten will be out late this month through Indie Blu(e) Press and select bookstores. To read more interviews from Smitten poets please check out Candice’s website here, and don’t forget to sign up for my mailing list for updates on my work, querying tips, and miscellaneous fun.