Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Austin Davis and I’m a 19 year old poet and student activist studying creative writing at ASU. My first book of poetry, Cloudy Days, Still Nights, was published by Moran Press in 2018 and my second collection of poetry, Second Civil War, was also published by Moran Press in 2018. Second Civil War is a call to action for my generation to stand up for what they believe in and fight hate and injustice. The poems in this book touch on issues from gun violence to racism to immigration to the nature of modern capitalism, among many others.
My next book, The World Isn’t the Size of Our Neighborhood Anymore, is coming out from Weasel Press in March, 2020. Following the release of my new book, I’ll be going on a little Arizona book tour. I’ll be performing in Mesa, Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff, and possibly a few more cities!
How did you get your start?
I fell in love with books when I was a young kid. Soon after, I fell in love with writing too. I got my start by reading everything I could get my hands on, writing every day, submitting my poetry to magazines, and reading at open mics in AZ. From there, I got a few poems published, became more comfortable performing, and it grew from there! When I was in my senior year of high school, Moran Press took a chance on my poetry and published my first book, and that really meant a lot to me.
What inspires you?
My biggest goal as an artist is to make a difference in the world and positively impact people with my writing. I truly believe that art can change the world and that inspires me to write about what I believe in and fight hate with my poetry. I want to use my writing to be an ally to marginalized groups. I’ve struggled with OCD and anxiety in my life so I also write a lot about my personal experiences with mental illness. I’m inspired by the idea that I might be able to help people feel less alone in what they’re going through with my poetry.
What do you like about AZ?
Arizona is my home! The arts community in Arizona is so supportive and there are so many AZ artists doing amazing things for the world here. I have a soft spot in my heart for Mesa, the town I grew up in. I find that many of my memories of growing up in Mesa find their way into my poems. I love the sunsets in Arizona. I love that first cool day in Fall in AZ when the whole world feels a little easier all of a sudden. I love the starry nights and the quiet mornings and the monsoon storms in the summer. I love it all! Well, that is, everything except the heat…
Where can we see you(r) work?
What would you like to accomplish before you die?
I want to leave my mark on the world with my writing and with the person I was during my time on Earth. Before I die, I want to be able to say that I’ve impacted people with my poetry and I want to be able to say that I’ve been a loving person, father, friend, partner, son, brother, student and teacher.
What is your mantra?
My personal mantra is, “be empathetic in a time where empathy seems much too rare.”