Lesbian poet Theresa Davis celebrates release of new book ‘After This We Go Dark’

She celebrates the release of her book at her “big gay birthday book release party” at the Art Amok Slam on Friday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Grant Park Coffeehouse, 753-A Cherokee Ave., Atlanta, GA 30315.

We talked to Davis before her big gay birthday celebration and book release party. Pssst… if Ellen Degeneres is reading this, she’d like to be on your show.

Congrats on this book! How did you to come up with the title?

Thank you. I am very proud of this collection. I have self-published six chap books so when Sibling Rivalry Press offered the opportunity to publish with them it was an honor.

The title comes from a dialogue in a movie I was only half watching. It was one of the only memorable things from the movie; I can’t even remember the name of it. When I heard it my friend (a fellow poet) and I said simultaneously, “That would be a great title for a book.” I wrote it down and would look at it from time to time. The more I thought about it, it took on this idea of looking back, being present and moving forward which is what we as humans all do before we die. 

What, if any, are there themes throughout the book you are wishing to convey?

It’s not set up thematically, though the themes of family, love, politics and heartbreak are present throughout. Much of my work overlaps and it was difficult for me to break poems up into sections, but I think the arrangement of the poems convey the roller coaster of experiences that life can be. We all have all experienced regret, struggle and hope; and somehow we keep moving, growing and loving, these themes move throughout “After This We Go Dark.”

Is Atlanta a good city to live for writers?

I love Atlanta! There is such a rich community of poets here and a support system that I find pushes writers to grow and flourish. I have toyed with the idea of moving but can’t think of a place where I might feel connected to the city and people as I do here. This is a city and community that loves art and as an artist I am grateful for that love.

When I won the Women of The World Poetry Slam competition in 2011 my city awarded me with a proclamation acknowledging my work and the work I do in my community, something I am proud of. It encourages me to continue to serve my community as an educator, activist and writer. 

What is the process of your writing? Do you come up with an idea, or a phrase, and go from there?

I have many different processes for writing. I am a poet with many parts. There is the slam poet part of me, the spoken word part of me and the page poet part of me, and while they are all the same the delivery of each kind is a little different in my head.

I am very observant and sometimes I see something that sparks an idea or a feeling and the words just start pouring. I am also a ranter and a news junkie, so often when I read an article or watch a news story that makes me feel some way, usually angry, I vent (rant) and more often than not it makes for a great slam poem but it may not always translate well on the page. Whatever topic or subject I write about I always try to find the connection to my community at large find that place where our human stories cross.

It’s always interesting and inspiring when a connection that I didn’t count on reveals itself. When my queer poem about my first love brings tears to the eyes of a straight man it reinforces my belief that we are more alike than we are different. 

What’s next for you?

I am planning a tour for “After This We Go Dark” and hope to share my work nationally, maybe internationally. I am working on a new manuscript and a one woman show. I also collaborate with Atlanta musician Ken J Martin on several new projects including the LGBTQ “SOUP” Tour. I am open to all new possibilities and will continue to grow as an artist and always use my words as an instrument for change.

And I would like to appear on “Ellen.”