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Atlanta Slam Poet On The Moment She Decided To ‘Be Visible’

Slam poet Theresa Davis went from performing open mics to winning the Women of the World Poetry Slam Championship in 2011.

Today, Theresa Davis is a World Poetry Slam Champion and a published author.

With her poetry, she's toured with bands like Rising Appalachia, has given a TedX talk and was the 2012 McEver Visiting Chair in Writing at Georgia Tech.

Thirteen years ago, however, Davis was a middle school teacher, devoted to education but stuck in a deep depression.

Then tragedy struck her family. “My father passed away suddenly,” she said. “And one of the last conversations I had with him was how I wasn’t living up to my potential.”

Her father had told her that she was making herself invisible.

As the oldest sibling, Davis had to make the decision to take her father off life support.

“That event right there just kind of changed my life.”

Davis, her mother and her brothers started a spoken word group called Mother-Daughter-Son, or MaDaSo, and Davis began doing open mics with her poetry.

That's when she discovered slam poetry.

“It was so beautiful and so inspiring, how we tell our stories and how we share our pain and our joy,” she said.

From there, she participated in national competitions, and finally, after she thought she had messed up her registration, Davis won the Woman of the World Poetry Slam Champion in 2011.

For the last poem at the competition, Davis performed “Why I Do This,” the tribute she felt was worthy of her father.

“That was the poem where I could be more transparent and vulnerable about who I was,” she said.

Click the link to listen to the whole interview.

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