Align Magazine got the chance to sit down with a women who already subscribes to many titles; we thought we’d add Millennial influencer to that list. Check out what Alexzenia had to say regarding her passion for art and poetry and her plans for the future. Here is what she had to say….
Alexzenia, tell us a little about yourself I never know where to start with this question, but to kick it off: My name is Alexzenia Davis and I am the founder of The Poet’s List. I am a lover of words and a writer in every sense. I’m a creative writer, a poet, an author, a journalist, a copywriter and a long-behind text drafter! I love other forms of art as well, but writing is the one that I consider my God-given gift. There are tons of other titles to which I subscribe: Christian, Black, Woman, Brooklynite (New Yorker), Pisces… and I encompass so many of the traits that come along with those titles. I’m spiritual, yet feisty. Strong, yet sensitive. I am an optimist when I’m not being a jaded realist. I am so many things… and, guess what? They all come out in my poetry. (Yep, shameless plug!)
Tell us about your organization or creative pursuits and what got you started? The Poet’s List is a brand dedicated to “making the poet popular again,” and we’ve been doing so since 2014! The centerpiece of the brand is its website; a blog-news site which contains news articles, spoken word videos and a Wikipedia-styled “List” of renowned and up-and-coming poets. The Instagram is a curated collection of written poetry—short and long form—and has been growing rapidly. I decided to launch The Poet’s List back in 2014 after realizing that there weren’t many news sites dedicated to the poetry world. There were only a few at the time and, even now, the turnover rate is high. But I wanted to ensure that there was a one-stop location for poets and poetry lovers to find news relevant to the genre. I noticed the void while trying to secure press for my short poem, “Make Me a Doorway,” which had been traveling the world on the short film festival circuit. (No, I did not travel the world with it, though that would have been amazing!) Once I got the idea to start the site, the ball kept rolling from there.
Has your journey been an easy one so far? What challenges have you had to overcome? I’d already been through quite a bit on a personal and professional level prior to creating The Poet’s List. So, the concept of “easy” is relative. In a way, it has been smooth journey because I spent the early years treating it as a project which I knew I’d later convert to a business. I also launched it anonymously which gave me the opportunity to grow the brand organically. I got to see what stood out to the poets and to learn what they valued and what would stick. Plus, I knew how to handle all of the creative aspects on my own: web-site development, copywriting, merchandise design, etc. The not-so-simple aspects have still proven rewarding. I’ve spent the last year learning more about the business side of things. Being in the art world and maintaining the integrity of your brand while also devising a realistic business structure has been a welcome challenge and is what is needed to take The Poet’s List to the next level.
“There are tons of other titles to which I subscribe: Christian, Black, Woman, Brooklynite (New Yorker), Pisces… and I encompass so many of the traits that come along with those titles.”Alexzenia Davis
What’s one thing we should know about you or your brand? I am someone who likes to be thoroughly understood before relinquishing control. I feel the same exact way about my brand. I want The Poet’s List to exist for centuries to come. In order for that to happen, I need to ensure that its mission is clear and that its values remain intact. I believe that for any business to scale, this is the single most important truth. Poets are an interesting crop of artists. We are protective of our craft and, in a way, very private. Yet, we all want to see the art form return to the forefront of popular culture. Today’s pop culture is salacious, gossipy and scandalous. It’s in direct contradiction to what the poet stands for. Understanding this dilemma and approaching it creatively is a constant undertaking and one that future employees and collaborators must understand.
What sets your site apart from other poetry sites out there? Because The Poet’s List is a one-stop-shop, there is no true competition. We welcome collaboration and we seek out opportunities to showcase poets and poetry-related events. We also do not hesitate to shout out other blogs. There is space for us all!
What has been your fondest moment in your career thus far? As it relates to The Poet’s List, I’ve connected (virtually) with a few renowned poets, which has been very rewarding. To see that “working” poets are excited about a brand like this means that I’m on the right path. On another note, I always enjoy seeing up-and-coming poets on Instagram and Twitter shout out the site. One young lady mentioned that she was about to give up on writing altogether, until her piece was reposted on our Instagram. To hear something like that is always moving.
You seem like a busy woman. What do you like to do in your free time? I won’t try to be profound here. I watch Netflix and Hulu and E!
Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years from now? I had a 10 year plan, but I’ve learned to give most things to God. I have seven major life goals and I don’t know how long it will take to achieve them; but I am actively working toward each one. Of the ones I’m willing to share: I want a fantastic husband and family; I want The Poet’s List to be a billion dollar business; I want to have enough money and resources to help my family and friends launch their own businesses; and I want to constantly do the work of the Kingdom.
Who has been the most influential person in your life? God. I have not gone a day without speaking to Him and I never will.
How were you as a child? As a child, I was said to be stubborn. My favorite phrase was “All by myself.” I like to say that I’m not much different now; though, I wouldn’t choose the word “stubborn.” As a child, I was also very creative. I used to write short stories and poetry all of the time and it was one of my favorite pastimes.
Is Charlotte a good city for your professional and creative goals? I do believe there is a lot of opportunity here. Because my business lives largely online, I don’t always take advantage of the events and forums that exist; but I do know that there is a lot happening here in the Queen City.
What would you like people to remember about you when you’re gone? When I’m gone, I would want people to know that: I was someone who had integrity; a beautiful heart; a kind spirit; and a desire to do good. I would want people to know that I was someone who empathized; even with situations that didn’t pertain to my life. And I would want people to remember that I was a poet and to enjoy all of my writing, posthumously.
Advice Column: Give one piece of advice that you can share with fellow Millennials I have a few pieces of advice: 1) A friend told me about an organization called SCORE; a free resource where you can receive a mentor to help you in whatever stage of business development you’re in. I highly recommend it. 2) Know your brand and your mission like the back of your hand and protect its integrity at any cost. 3) Keep your day job while growing your business. Stable income affords you the opportunity to maintain your sense of urgency without reaching a point of desperation. 4) Enjoy the ride! These are the “testimony moments” and these are the moments you’ll use to encourage others once you make it.