This month’s local artist feature is the beautiful K McClendon. Born and raised in Illinois, K has taken the Minnesota poetry scene by their hands. They describe themself as queer, black, trans, fat, proud, mentally ill poet. It is all of these experiences from their intersecting identities that give them the unique outlook and perspective on today’s modern world. K says, “I am obsessed with poetry, in that it’s the only way for me to be able to express these complex identities and make people who understand feel seen and to educate people who don’t experience the same things.”
Growing up, they watched several YouTube videos of Button Poetry, a Saint Paul based publishing company. Button Poetry uploads poems nearly every day and K says they watched these videos religiously in high school, making it their dream to be on Button Poetry. In just a handful of years, this dream turned into a reality now having over 30,000 views on Button Poetry’s Youtube channel.
K and I met last year because we both attend Hamline University and currently share the Late Night Event Programming position on campus. They are studying Creative Writing and Psychology in hopes to get their MFA and become a professor. It has been an honor and a joy to work with K McClendon this year. Because of their hard work ethic and commitment to maintaining their passions on campus, K just received the Rising Star Award from Hamline’s Student Activities & Leadership Development. This is a huge deal and incredibly well deserved.
K’s successes are both all over Hamline’s campus and out in the community as well. Last June they traveled to the 2018 Rustbelt in Detroit with the Button Poetry Twin Cities team. In October 2018 they Represented the Twin Cities in San Diego at the Individual World Poetry Slam. Their poem Protest was published in the 2018 True Art Speaks anthology and they have work forthcoming in Err Magazine. Most recently, K and I worked in a short project together with other local artists that you can check out here.
Interested in more of K’s work? Support local artists of color! Look below for ways to get in touch with them!
Facebook: Kay McClendon. “Though my name appears elsewhere as just K. Facebook is transphobic.” (Yes!)