Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Blythe Baird, young and hungry
by Ana Serna
2018-09-19

This article shared 1499 times since Wed Sep 19, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Blythe Baird, a "mostly lesbian" author, spoken word performer and unstoppable creative force, is the poster child for successful, young artists. Originally from Palatine, a northwestern suburb of Chicago, Baird is currently living in St. Paul, Minn. On top of performing spoken word, she teaches introductory spoken word and poetry slam classes for children ages 13-17 in Minneapolis. She also hosts online editing sessions with writers.

Baird works on other artistic ventures, such as acting, "just for fun" but "poetry is my main jam," said Baird. She has acted in short films, as well as a documentary directed by Abby Thompson, a student she knew from her time at Hamline University in St. Paul. Her collaboration with Thompson led to The Fat Girl Who Got Skinny ( 2015 ), an award-winning short film that Thompson directed, based on a poem of the same name by Baird.

"I like poetry better [than acting] because I was in control of the narrative I was pushing," said Baird. "I wanted to have authorship over the stories that I was telling and I knew that I had stories to tell."

Button Poetry is publishing her second book, If My Body Could Speak ( 2018 ), which will be available "very soon," according to Baird. She said the release date has been set for a time in the very near future, but has not been made public yet. Baird plans to tour her book nationally shortly after the release.

Baird's previous book, Give Me a God I Can Relate To ( 2015 ), is out of print after "breaking up with her publisher" and the only copies remaining are selling for upwards of $150-$200 online from third-party sellers.

"What I wanted to do with [If My Body Could Speak] is combine the best work from [Give Me a God I Can Relate To] since it's not available now and put in new work that I've been doing," said Baird. Many of her poems have gained popularity across Button Poetry and will be included in the upcoming book. They were left out of Give Me a God I Can Relate To because Baird was only 18 when it was published, "…so those were more high school," she says. As for her current work, Baird simply says she is proud of her love.

"I feel [love] is a very soft thing in a very sharp world. I have gotten so much joy out of my relationships with women and non-binary people," said Baird. "I think because my [sexuality] is such an intergral part of my identity, it's part of the lens that I write all my poems from."

"I felt like a fish out of water, just trying to figure out this world," said Baird about coming out as lesbian during the end of her high school experience. Since coming out, other poets have guided her on her journey as a young, queer writer. Those women were Sierra DeMulder and Siaara Freeman.

DeMulder was Baird's camp counselor at Slam Camp, a youth summer performance poetry intensive workshop in Fort Lauderdale. "I started writing because I saw Sierra DeMulder perform and I was really impacted by her performance. I was very moved and felt so many things," said Baird of the first time she saw her now-mentor perform spoken word. "I was very struck that a poem could elicit such a tangible emotion from me. I was, like, 'I want to do that'."

"There are so few spaces where teenage girls are allowed to feel powerful. I was allowed to go up there and be unapologetic in my power," said Bard, recalling what first drew her to spoken word performance. "I didn't care about a lot things. Then when I started writing, everything mattered because I was going to write about it. Things began to carry more weight for me and I became more observant," said Baird. According to her, creative writing transformed a part of her that was apathetic before.

"Ever since then, she's been an extreme guide to me," said Baird. She calls DeMulder her mentor, as she goes to her for anything, from business advice to emotional support. "She just moved back to Minnesota and lives around the corner from me."

Similarly, Baird first met Freeman at Pink Door, a small writer's retreat that has historically attracted some of the more powerful names in spoken word. "I felt really supported … by the older people in poetry during my time there. I met Siaara and we just really clicked." Freeman is also lesbian and has taken Baird under her wing. DeMulder and Freeman's support includes coaching on writing, performing and holding an audience—something invaluable to a young artist.

"I still learn so much from them every day," said Baird. "I was a fan before I was a friend, so it's really cool to be able to have such a close relationship with someone that I looked up to so much."

Throughout her growth as a writer, Baird seems to be following in her mentors' footsteps. "Both of them are like my poetry big sisters. I think I still would have accomplished things without them but with their support and guidance I felt very confident in my own power," said Baird. "When I was younger a lot of people my age in high school didn't feel like they could do professional things when they were teenagers. My mentors got me out of that mindset. You can be doing all this now. You don't have to wait until you're an adult to be a writer. You can do this hustle right now."

"I feel very driven to let young people know that they are powerful, capable and significant … that their voice is worth listening to and their stories are worth telling," says Baird. "A lot of times, it's hard for a young person to feel that their experiences mean something and I think that I always want to spread the message that your voice does matter."


This article shared 1499 times since Wed Sep 19, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

OUTSpoken: LGBTQ storytelling event Jan. 5 on Zoom 2020-12-16
- Another OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Jan. 5, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. The ...


Gay News

New narrative podcast offers lesbian rocker slice of life 2020-11-26
Podcast attached below - For audiophiles in search of punk rock tongue-in-cheek lesbian dramedy-driven narrative storytelling, look no further: "Tampon Rock" is here. The podcast, from Anthem and iHeart Radio, focuses on lesbian bandmates Deja and Chloe as they navigate ...


Gay News

OUTspoken Storytelling to host tales from LGBTQ perspectives Nov. 10 2020-11-01
--From a press release - Another exciting OUTspoken Storytelling Night will offer the perspective of four Chicagoans telling life's stories from their LGBTQ+ viewpoint or that of their close friends and relatives, Tuesday, Nov. 10, starting at 7 p.m. on Zoom. ...


Gay News

Deeply Rooted launches 25th-anniversary season 2020-08-24
- Deeply Rooted Dance Theater which diversifies the aesthetics of contemporary dance by uniting modern, classical, U.S. and African-American traditions in dance and storytelling announced initial plans for Deeply 25: Beyond Dance ...


Gay News

'Making Sweet Tea': Out NU dean talks about new documentary 2020-08-18
- Performer and Northwestern University Dean E. Patrick Johnson discussed his new film and the importance of reclaiming storytelling agency in a virtual Q&A Lambda Legal hosted Aug. 9. Johnson, dean of Northwestern University's School of Communication, ...


Gay News

'SapphFest' to take place virtually May 28-29 2020-05-21
- On May 28-29 at 7:30 p.m., Violet Surprise Theatre will present SapphFest—a digital variety show celebrating queer women and non-binary artists from all over the country and internationally, through storytelling ...


Gay News

COVID-19 Black queer storytelling event April 18 2020-04-17
- On Saturday, April 18, 1-2:30 p.m., Lighthouse Foundation will host a virtual Black Queer Storytelling event, "Black, Queer, and Living Through COVID-19." Attendees will hear four different stories by four different members of the Black queer ...


Gay News

'OUTspoken' at BAC on April 10 2020-03-16
- The Beverly Arts Center (BAC), 2407 W. 111th St., will present an evening with LGBTQIA storytelling collective OUTspoken on Friday, April 10, at 7:30 p.m. Chicago-based comedian Elizabeth Gomez will host the event, which will feature ...


Gay News

OUTspoken at Beverly Arts Center to Place LGBTQ Stories in the Spotlight 2020-02-13
- The Beverly Arts Center presents an evening with LGBTQIA storytelling collective OUTspoken on Friday, April 10 at 7:30 p.m. The performance will be hosted by Chicago-based comedian Elizabeth Gomez and features ...


Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH For museum curators, garments offer stylish storytelling 2019-10-07
by Matthew S. Bajko - Curators working with the Oakland Museum of California on its first major LGBT exhibition, dubbed "Queer California: Untold Stories," displayed a blue sequined jacket created by San Francisco designer Pat Campano and worn in 1985 by ...


Gay News

LEZFEST, with queer female and non-binary performance artists, expands 2019-09-12
- LEZFEST, a presentation and celebration of queer female and non-binary performance artists, expands to two nights - Tuesday October 22 and Wednesday October 23 Lineup of 13 artists to include song, dance, stand-up, storytelling, and spoken ...


Gay News

BOOKS 'In the City' author talks storytelling, Stonewall 2019-06-26
- Taylor Saracen always had a passion for storytelling. Her parents warned her writing was not a lucrative profession so instead she chose teaching, she told Windy City Times with a humorous irony in her voice. After ...


Gay News

SPOTLIGHT 2019-05-07
- A little girl with special powers, who loves books and storytelling, is unappreciated by her dysfunctional, telly-addicted family and bullied at school—as are ALL the children—by the ferocious, towering headmistress ...


Gay News

MUSIC Alan Menken talks music, storytelling, Howard Ashman 2019-03-27
- Legendary score composer Alan Menken—best known for his Oscar-winning work on classic Disney animated films including The Little Mermaid and Aladdin—will be in Chicago playing a retrospective show Saturday, March ...


Gay News

Women & Children First March events include noted authors 2019-03-06
- Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m. Am I Man Enough? Storytelling Show & Podcast (This is the rescheduled date due to the January weather cancellation.) Am I Man Enough? is a storytelling show and podcast featuring ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.