The Spirit of a Scribe | Poet Alexa Harris
Joce: Hey Alexa! Thank you so much for sharing your story today. Would you start off with an intro to the title you go by, and your style of work?
Alexa: DopeMamacita is an aspiring brand to encourage WOC to love themselves. The name came to me after a breakup and I wanted to transform. I wanted to share with the world my transformation as I was healing. My style is inspirational because I want WOC to gravitate towards the brand. I typically write short poems based on how I am feeling at the moment or if I am trying to convey a message to my followers. I’ve been writing since 2010 when I was in an internship at Street Poets Inc.
Joce: I love that you used words to heal. That is something that I can truly resonate with. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Alexa: Fuck academia! Excuse my language. I felt at one point so compelled to stay within this box of proper grammar, punctuation, etc. In grad school, I started to experiment more with writing the way I wanted. I have always been inspired by Gloria Anzaldua (who was critiqued in academia). Her words spoke from the heart and that is what I always want to embody. Writing how I wanted felt like real freedom.
Joce: Does the Internet or social media contribute to the well-being of poetry?
Alexa: For me, yes! I follow a few accounts that specifically post poetry or post-its on mindfulness. If you want to be a good writer, you should surround yourself with things that give you fuel, fire, creativity. I am specifically drawn to Black women, women of color, and non gender-binary accounts. They speak to my soul, my ancestors, and give me spark to write.
Joce: How do you begin a poem?
Alexa: My poems usually come to me at night, of course, before I go to bed. A line will pop into my head and from there the words just flow. I am old school and love to write on paper but my iPhone notes help when I am winding down for bed.
Joce: Night time is definitely a powerfully creative time of day. What book are you reading right now?
Alexa: I am reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. It is a guide to spiritual enlightenment. To me, it has helped me to live in the now, which is a mindfulness practice. It helps alleviate my anxiety because I used to reminisce on the past and overthink about the future. My creativity is able to come through more when I can live in the moment. Easier said than done though! I am still a work in progress.
Joce: We are all working on ourselves, forsure. Or at least we should be! What music inspires you to write?
Alexa: Anything and everything underground hip hop. I really enjoy Dilla Donuts album as well as Madlib Blue Note album. It is the perfect blend of instrumental that gives you the power to not only write, but write creatively. I have always been a huge hip hop head thanks to my brother Drew. He let me explore all his albums when I was in middle school. Throughout college and grad school, hip hop helped me get through.
Joce: What do you see for trends in poetry in 2019-2020?
Alexa: I see social media having a huge impact on the way we express, the way we write. I love reading poetry that is inspired by history, injustice, and empowerment. It gives me courage to write from my anger within. I hope to see more poetry like this and I hope to continue writing with this same fire.