Kit Yan. With his boyish Hawaiian-style local boy charm and his genuine jolly laughter, one would never think upon meeting him that he has a reputation for being an R, even X-rated poet on stage. Through his writings and slam poetry, Kit has engaged his fans over the years with original and raw stories, which sew together his experiences as a radical queer and transgender Asian American traveling artist.
His upcoming album named after the title track, As We Fell, is perhaps one that Kit will even admit resonates a sense of purposeful incohesiveness. Through his anecdotes on heartbreak and the politics of love, Kit takes his audience through a journey of compelling narratives about rebuilding and repair. As personal as this album was for him to record, it was also one he hopes will empower his fans as they grapple with their own discovery of themselves.
Perhaps the spoken word was always part of his genome, for even at the young age of 5, Kit was found to be writing and speaking about relatively pertinent issues such as power struggles on the playground. When he was 9 years old, Kit even performed a dramatic rendering of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree. Now 29, Kit has spent the greater part of his life not only literally and figuratively transforming his own identity, but also infusing his audiences with his unconventional views on sexuality, identity politics and intimacy. His poetry ranges from sweet and nostalgic to eyes-wide-open raunchy.
Kit Yan performs “26 Steps”, a love poem examining queer dynamics, transition and memory, and romance at the Queer Women of Color and friends performance night.
Kit is based in Brooklyn, but his busy schedule requires him to travel the country for the majority of the year. His dedication has gotten him featured in the HBO Documentary Asians Aloud, and earned him a top three spot at the National Equality March in 2010.
When Kit moved to the East Coast, one of the most important things he brought with him was his strong sense of family and community. As We Fell even includes a piece about his tight-knit circle of friends from O’ahu. Kit acknowledges that what he has chosen to say to the world through his art is, in reality, not interesting to the masses. In a world where issues tied to gender and sexuality are under constant scrutiny, where the color of ones skin affects peoples’ perspectives and where ones radical politics are challenged, Kit understands that his community is small. Despite the disproportion, this is where Kit thrives as a leading artist and these are the circles he represents and preserves. By default, he is a spokesperson and perhaps one of the most eloquent of his kind.
Even though he admits that the life of an artist is often a struggle, being a travelling artist, writer and life-long storyteller is what Kit was born to do. “Nothing compares to what you love,” he says. Indeed, the words of a true artist.
More information on Kit Yan can be found at: www.kityanpoet.com.
His latest album, As We Fell, is scheduled to be released before the end of the year. Check out his website for more information.
Here’s where you can find Kit:
December 2-4, 2011
Bold Gathering, Minneapolis, MN
December 8, 2011 @ 6pm
Interview and preview of some of the new tracks on his new album. Streaming online.
Also, look out for Kit on the Sister Spit Tour in April 2012!