Nova Scotia·Video

Don't expect Kym Nacita to swoon if you call her beautiful

It's National Poetry Month in Canada. Watch Halifax poet Kym Nacita perform her work If You’re Looking for a Girl to Swoon.

Watch Kym Nacita perform her poem If You’re Looking for a Girl to Swoon

Kym Nacita wrote her poem thinking about all the different ways she’d rather be seen than beautiful. (Margaret Donahoe for CBC)

For poet Kym Nacita, getting called beautiful gets old pretty quick.

Around five years ago, she was dating someone who used that as their main compliment. Nacita found it constant and boring, and started replying in her own way. 

"When she would say, 'Oh, you're so beautiful,' and I would say, 'Oh, I know' as a joke," Nacita said. "At one point she said, a bit annoyed with me … 'You know, you can just say thank you.'"

That got Nacita thinking about all the different ways she'd rather be seen. She started writing the poem If You're Looking for a Girl to Swoon

Don't expect Kym Nacita to swoon if you call her beautiful

2 years ago
Duration 4:17
Watch Kym Nacita's perform her poem If You’re Looking for a Girl to Swoon.

Nacita performed her poem in this video for the CBC Creator Network. It was directed and edited by Margaret Donahoe, shot by Nicole Cecile Holland, with sound by Graeme Campbell at the Spatz Theatre in Halifax. 

Nacita said she's thinking of queer people of colour when she writes. 

"I'm just carving out a space … for me and for us."

Here's Nacita's favourite part in the poem:

Call me mananaggal
A creature
A monster
A bitch if you're so inclined
Because i am used to being the villain
No longer meek
Or docile
Tearing down my body
My mind
My words
For approval
Call me terrifying
Treacherous
And yes,
Beautiful.

Nacita said she's been called a villain "for raising issues that were difficult and I guess some would call divisive."

"It doesn't really matter what you do, at some point you're going to be called a villain," Nacita said. "And I just love sort of the misunderstanding of monsters in history and finding my identity through that."

Filmmaker Margaret Donahoe has been a fan of Nacita's work for years. 

"There's just something so incredible about being in her presence and hearing her words through her voice, and watching her embody them," Donahoe said."I think that's a lot about what the poem is about, is about witnessing her and all her powerful facets." 

Nacita doesn't perform as much as she once did, but this video was a good reminder. 

"It really brought me back to a place of, you know, why I started writing in the first place and the importance, I guess, of my own truth. And how I feel about myself, and my body and my own growth."

The creators 

Kym Nacita is a transplant to Halifax from Ontario/Alberta but always longs for her home of the Philippines. She is fat femme monster poet and writing workshop facilitator who divides her time between cooking for rent money, watching bad horror movies, and finding the perfect shade of lipstick to scare unwanted visitors. Kym Nacita is a strong believer in feeding our bodies and spirits to heal from colonization, oppression, and intergenerational trauma. 

Kym Nacita is a poet in Halifax. (Kym Nacita )

Margaret Donahoe finds artist bios even harder to write than dating profiles. She is fat and queer and an Aries sun. Margaret believes in the power of storytelling and is interested in exploring ideas of self in relation to others. She has made film, theatre, one stand up appearance, and sometimes she writes. 

Margaret Donahoe is a filmmaker in Halifax. ( Margaret Donahoe)

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