“She is the explosion of life and death under sun-kissed eyelids, the feeling of having your eyes closed when facing the ocean, and so, so human. And she can show you all that and more in a poem, in a piece, in every vibe she aims to send out.” -Caressa Wong, The Tempest
“ ‘trigger’ is an absolutely stunning collection of poems that hits you with a swiftness, grace, and honesty rarely seen in contemporary poetry. Trans poets will look back on Venus Selenite's work for generations as a model for how to make magic out of the darkest fears and experiences.” -Tyler Vile, author of Never Coming Home
“Her work … is committed to making the experiences of marginalized communities visible. She demands more than her audience’s attention, but also their (dis)comfort; her writing challenges complacency and asks you how you are complicit in society’s failings. It asks you what you are going to do about it.” -Taylor Steele, Drunken Boat
Venus Di’Khadijah Selenite (xe/xym) has made a career of “comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable” through poems, straightforward commentary, and delightful shade.
Venus’ poems express themes of race, sexuality, gender, mental health, Afro-Louisianan heritage, faith, and additional aspects and emotions of being a Black trans woman in 21st century America. Xe critiques oppressive systems that allow constant suffering and builds imagination of the futures we deserve. This mission is implemented in other artistic ventures xe take outside of the written and spoken word.
At the age of 15, xe began honing their literary and performance skills on the Baton Rouge youth poetry scene, starting out in amateur poetry slams in libraries. From 2006 to 2014, Venus’ fierce energy was shown through hosting, organizing, spitting poems, and facilitating workshops at the Freshhhh Heat Open Mic, the All City Teen Poetry Slam Festival, and in various schools, organizations, and art collectives.
Venus moved to Washington D.C. in 2015. After ending xyr post as the U.S. Trans Survey Intern at the National Center of Transgender Equality, xe plunged into being a full-time artist, becoming a regular feature at Sparkle, a now defunct queer poetry reading, as well featuring/performing at the Capturing Fire International Queer Poetry Slam (2014-17). Xyr debut poetry collection, trigger, was self-published in May 2016, making xym one of the few well-known Black trans women poets in print. It began a current and long-term refusal of participating in the traditional publishing industry due to tokenism and the lack of overall support towards writers who are trans women of color.
After publishing The Fire Been Here, a prose collection containing essays that spoke about specific moments in the transgender rights movement in recent memory, xe became an editor at the Trans Women Writers Collective and worked on Nameless Woman: An Anthology of Fiction of Trans Women of Color. While it took almost two years for publication, the anthology fell into accordance with xyr principles of creative equity, freedom of language, and spotlighting the truths of writers of color affected by transmisogyny.
Venus has also worked as an actress, performing in Absalom and For Black Trans Girls Who Have To Cuss A Motherfucker Out When Snatching An Edge Ain’t Enough, a play and choreopoem, respectively, written by Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi.
Xyr has shared xyr talents at the following venues: Philadelphia Trans Wellness Conference (2016), the Baltimore Theater Project, the Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam (2016), Busboys and Poets, Bloombars, Anacostia Playhouse, Woolly Mammoth Theater, Baton Rouge Community College, Princeton University, Wellesley College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Metropolitan Bar (NYC), North Carolina Trans Pride, the University of Virginia, American University, the Kennedy Center, and the White House. In 2016, she became only the second Black trans woman to perform at the White House, after Andrea Jenkins.
Venus’ upcoming poetry collection, midheaven, speaks directly to xyr recent experiences with gender-affirming breast augmentation surgery, the journey with xyr breasts spanning several years, and the vitality of diverse care for trans bodies.
Xe makes Baltimore, MD home with xe polycule, a farm in progress, xyr cat Fighting Tail, and three rude ass chickens who lay delicious eggs.
For more videos, Youtube Search ‘Venus Selenite’