Throughout the month of April, National Poetry Month, ArtsATL will introduce you to a few of Georgia’s most talented poets and spoken word artists.
This week, we present our final poet, Theresa Davis.
Davis is a wordsmith, spoken word artist and long-time champion of the Atlanta literary community. In addition to performing her work weekly at some of the city’s most renowned spoken word and open mic venues, Davis also teaches poetry to children, teens and adults in the Atlanta area. Davis is a member of the Word Diversity Collective/Art Amok, representing the city as a member of the 2006–2010 Art Amok Slam Team. In 2009, Davis was ranked among the top 10 female poets in the world as a finalist in the Women of the World Poetry Slam. According to Davis’ biography, she has shared the stage with Eve Ensler, Jane Fonda, Pearl Cleage and Doria Roberts in The Vagina Monologues; with Bernice Johnson Reagon in Sweet Honey in the Rock; and with Def Poet Jon Goode in their joint production of Wish You Were Here at 7 Stages.
“Poetry saved my life,” says Davis. “This vehicle has taken me across the U.S., and my words, in the form of books, internationally. I am forever grateful and always learning better ways to serve my community, my truest form of activism.”
Social media handle/website information:
Instagram: @shepiratepoet and @javaspeaks
ARTS ATL: How would you describe the type of poetry you write or perform?
Theresa Davis: My work is primarily social commentary and personal narratives.
ARTS ATL: Where can we go to find your work or see you perform?
Davis: My books, After This We Go Dark and Drowned: A Mermaid’s Manifesto, published with Sibling Rivalry Press, can be found at Charis Books and More, or directly from the publisher at https://www.
You can find me at Java Speaks every Sunday night at The Pinewood/Bar Crema in Decatur, every first Tuesday at Art Amok Slam at the Red Light Cafe, every second Tuesday of the month at Tease Tuesday at the Red Light Cafe and every second Friday at XChange Open Mic at the ArtsXchange in East Point.
These are also some of my favorite open mic/spoken word events. I also collaborate with Dad’s Garage Theatre Company on a show we call Madmen and Poets.
ARTS ATL: What are some of the recurring themes you explore in your poetry/verses?
Davis: The themes in my work circle around the topics of social injustice, empowerment, education and family — woven through with love, wit, sarcasm and plenty of righteous indignation.
ARTS ATL: What is it about poetry that’s most appealing to you as a creative form?
Davis: Poetry is a conversation that sparks discussion. I always seek to find the spaces and places where our humanity touches, to create work that encourages communication and a lens to see how our realities are not as different as the world would have us believe.
ARTS ATL: Who or what most inspires your work?
Davis: I am inspired by the world around me — the good, the bad and all things in between. My children show up in my work often; they are the best poetry I have ever created, and a constant source of joy and creativity.
ARTS ATL: Whose poetry do you most enjoy?
Davis: I read a lot. I gravitate to the work of Audre Lorde, Natasha Trethewey and Nikky Finney. Strong women voices are my go-to when reading poetry.
ARTS ATL: Share with us your favorite line of poetry.
Davis: There are so many lines, but I’m digging my new poem, “The Verdict.”
“What do we do now brother wind?
What kind of freedom can you offer
to those who are not seen by justice
murdered for the loudness of their black?”