Writer vs. Poet: Austin davis

As a young poet, Austin create a poetry novella LOTUS & THE APOCALYPSE that is coming out from Outcast Press on March 1st! It's not only what he writes, Austin in my idea is a symbol of poetry himself. Why? Read to learn more ;)


Hello Austin and Happy New Year. Let us begin with new, could you share a bit about “Lotus and Apocalypse” poetry novella?


Lotus & The Apocalypse is a poetry novella about the last day on Earth. This concept is explored through meditations on the past, guilt, addictions, mental illness, death, loss, love and more, as Lotus tries to figure out what the point of life is before it’s too late.


I have ADHD, OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome and other mental health issues, and I wrote this book when I was struggling a lot. Writing these poems helped me climb out of the hole I’d fallen in to, and for that I feel grateful.


I lead a homeless outreach program, and during the composition of this book I reversed overdoses, saw people die, and experienced some pretty scary stuff. Writing these poems also helped me process these experiences and I’m so excited for the world to be able to read it!


That's the purpose of writing. A way to express and ease any difficulty or pain. Why poetry novella and why transgressive poetry? What about these attracts you?


I’ve always loved poetry as a container to tell a story. It feels so magical to me that in such a small space such huge worlds can be explored. The beauty of a poem is that after you’ve read it, it doesn’t end. 5 years from now I’ll likely read a poem again that I just read recently, and I’ll gain something completely different from it then than I have now.


Maybe you’ll read a poem and when you’re moving through your day later you’ll see something that reminds you of a certain line from that piece. Poetry is connection and connection is love.


My goal with poetry is to write something that people think of when they’re going to sleep at night, something that sticks with you and you can’t let go of.


With Lotus & The Apocalypse, I wanted to create something that told a narrative story, but also explored and pushed the boundaries of what a story is and what a poem can be. Everything in art is fluid, and I love that. To me, transgressive literature is honesty. It’s uncomfortable and pushes the boundaries of what we share with each other through content, in the way I also aim to push these boundaries with the structure and form of this book.


in my chest there’s a tiny me
that wants us both dead
inside his chest
there’s an even tinier us
that wishes only for love

Beautiful. You can be the Shakespear of our time very soon. When did you find yourself attracted to transgressive literature? Why?


I’ve always connected most with art that doesn’t hold back, that speaks the truth. That’s one thing I love about transgressive literature. The best way for us to grow personally and as a world is to show people the perspective we know, and to listen and learn from others, especially when it’s difficult.


I understand. How about an early experience where you learned that language had power?


I have OCD. When I was a kid, I remember feeling pretty confused about the thoughts in my head. OCD is all about fear. It’s about having this terribly scary fear that feels so real, and your brain tells you to complete some compulsion to make it go away. Your brain lies to you and says that if you do this thing, you’ll feel better, but the thoughts always come back if you give in to the compulsion, and they get worse and worse.


One of the first slam poems I was introduced to was “OCD” by Neil Hilborn. This was the first time I saw something in an art form about OCD that I could relate to. I felt seen and comforted and it was so inspiring that Neil could be so honest up there on that stage. That made me want to speak my truth and not give a fuck and try to connect with others in the same way he connected with me.


I can't imagine how difficult it was for you as a kid dealing with OCD. And i'm glad you discovered the power of poetry. Can you tell us about “Lotus and Apocalypse” publishing process?


The publishing process with Outcast Press has been so incredible. Sebastian Vice is one of the kindest and most incredible people I know. I feel eternally grateful for the many ways that he champions my work and so many others.


Natalie Nider edited this book and she did an amazing job. Paige Johnson formatted the interior and did all the design. I know it’s my book, but I can confidently say that it’s definitely one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen and that is 100% because of Paige’s genius design skills. Each poem is paired with a complimentary illustration. I never imagined it could look this beautiful. Before Natalie and Paige, LOTUS was like a glob of clay that hadn’t entered the kiln yet. They set that shit on fire and turned it into a vase!


Cody Sexton from Anxiety Press created the front and back cover art. I gave him a (probably very confusing) description of what I was thinking for the cover, and he made something that wildly exceeded anything I’d thought of before. This book took a team to create and I’m so grateful for everyone!


Austin. What inspires you the most writing poems?


I know that for me, poetry and music have saved my life in countless ways. The power of art is what inspires me. More than anything, I just want to write something that helps someone feel less alone. Being a human can be pretty exhausting and difficult. I think it’s all a little less heavy if you know someone out there has gone through something similar to what you have experienced and has made it out on the other side alive. We’re all on the same Earth and we all need to look out for each other.


I’ve a request. Can you tell us a short poem for this interview?


Sure! I’ve never written a poem specifically for an interview before, but I love that idea. Here’s a poem just for you, that I wrote right now, tonight, sitting on the carpet under my lamp while drinking a beer.


WAKE UP, FLIP A COIN


if it’s heads

i take a shower, get dressed

& wait for the plug to come by


at the end of the day


if it’s tails

i pop an addy, pound back a pint

& walk through neighborhood lawns


wearing only socks


eyes closed, if a car hits me

or i wander into the cemetery

& fall into an open grave


at least it was predetermined


in my chest there’s a tiny me

that wants us both dead


inside his chest

there’s an even tinier us


that wishes only for love,

for a second to breathe,

to plant a seed tonight

& find a flower in the morning


we all crave

to lay in the grass

& feel the sun


right?


RIGHT! This is a superpower Austin. Beautiful, sensational and brutal at the same time. It's a hair-standing type of a poem. To finish this interview, what are your goals as a writer for this year?


I’m so excited for Lotus & The Apocalypse to be released. My main goal is to get this book into people’s hands, and see what they think. I’m going on a national tour in March which is going to be so fun. I’ll be touring around Arizona first, then I’ll be hitting the midwest, and then ending up on the east coast. I’d like to turn Lotus & The Apocalypse into a punk rock opera. I love collaborating with people across different artistic mediums, I love punk, and I think this story could be told in new ways on a sonic level.


Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. It really means the world to me.


Thank you, Austin to be here with us. You're an inspiration and a masterpiece. Wish you the best of luck in your writer's journey. Stay Safe.


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