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Theresa Davis- Artist Spotlight

Theresa Davis is an educator, storyteller, poet, author, poetry slam champion and the host of the award winning open mic Java Speaks. She is also the Literary Director at the ArtsXchange, and has performed on stages across the nation as a poet and keynote speaker. A classroom teacher for over 30 years, specializing in cross curricular education, Theresa continues her passion for education as a teaching artist. As a slam poet, Theresa has competed individually and on teams for over a decade and in 2011 won the Women of the World Poetry Slam. In May 2013, her first full collection of poems entitled “After This We Go Dark” was published by Sibling Rivalry Press. “After This We Go Dark” became an American Library Association Honoree, and the book can now be checked out in local and college libraries around the world. Her latest poetry collection “Drowned: A Mermaid’s Manifesto”, released with Sibling Rivalry Press, in fall of 2016 received the award“Ten Books All Georgians Should Read”. In addition to being a teaching artist and outreach poetry coordinator for Georgia Tech for 6 years, Theresa hosts and participates in many of the lit events around Atlanta. Her one-woman show “Then They’ll Tell You it’s all in Your Head” Made its debut as a part of 7 Stages Home Brew series in fall of 2017. January 2019, Theresa became the Literary Events Coordinator and The Charles “Jikki” Riley Memorial Library, facilitator for The Arts Exchange. Theresa is currently working on her third collection of poetry "Dirt" due for publication 2021-2022

11 Questions with Theresa Davis

1.What is the best part about being an artist/organizer?

The best part of being an artist for me, is connecting with the audience and finding the places our individual narratives overlap. As an organizer and show producer, building community with fellow creatives and making space for marginalized communities.

2.What is the most difficult part?

When things don't go as I envision them, I tend to bear the brunt of the disappointment. I take it personally and struggle with delegating responsibility. Much of what I do as a producer, depends on the venue the production takes place in, building a relationship and promoting are key. When a venue doesn't have faith in the project or full disclosure about their involvement, it can make for a difficult time.

3.Favorite medium? Favorite way to engage with your community?

I really enjoy working with students, in classrooms or community centers, developing writing skills through poetry and creative writing. Slam poetry was the vehicle that opened my heart to a connected love of poetry, and any opportunity to share that journey appeals to me.

4. Whose work do you most admire?

I read a lot, and am a fan of many artists. It's really hard to pin down just one. Lorde, Neruda and Trethewey are a few of the poets whose work I read frequently.

On Tour with Rising Appalachia

5. Describe your idea of artistic success.

For a long time, my idea of success was having my books in libraries. Now that that has happened, I have had to raise the bar. I think true success is accomplishing one goal that leads you to the next, and you never stop creating the next idea or project. It's important that you don't limit yourself or your possibilities.

6. What is the one question you wish people would stop asking you?

If they can touch my hair. The answer is, NO.

7. What is the one thing you wish people would ask?

I am asked a lot of good questions and have mentored many young artists. I always encourage them to set boundaries, and avoid emotional labor that is not healthy for them, as they share their hearts and souls. I am not an expert and boundaries, but I am working on it every day. 

8.Tea or coffee?

I drink a lot of coffee.

9. Top three tunes that inspire your creativity?

I am more a background noise artist. If I listen to music it's usually classical or a soundscape, lyrics distract me when I'm writing.

10. What projects are you currently working on?

I am finishing my third manuscript "Dirt" and working on a collection of poems for children. I had a fourth grader tell me that if I wrote a book of poems for children, I would have all of her allowance. I think I want all of her allowance.

11. If you could pass along one message to the rest of the world right now, what would you say?

Be easy with yourself and others. There are difficult times ahead and our humanity and collective communities are the things that can save the day. Let's work to save the day.

To connect with Theresa or follow her work, please visit her at

IG: @shepiratepoet

Twitter: @piraterockstar


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