Best of Phoenix

Wonder Woman: Divine Essence

Divine Essence is never at a loss for words. The poet and spoken-word artist has been performing around the Valley for more than five years, and hosting open mic nights since 2002, when she started a regular spoken-word shindig at Livingston's soul food restaurant in Scottsdale. When Livingston's closed, Divine moved her open mic nights to various other spots — including A Shot of Java, Mighty Cup, the Paper Heart, and Majerle's — before finding her current home at the Entertainment Alley theater space in Scottsdale. There, she hosts and performs at open mic poetry nights every first Sunday. She also hosts poetry and spoken-word workshops through her Web site, "I'm pretty straightforward, and I believe this is why people can relate to my poetry," Divine says. "I write about pain, happiness, domestic violence, lost loves, newfound loves, babies, and disease. Everyone can see themselves in my writing."

I arrived in Phoenix from Da Bronx with my mother, Hazel, on July 13, 1989.

When I’m stuck in traffic, I recite my poetry or create new ones.

One thing my mother doesn’t know about me is that I want to be like her when I grow up.

On Saturday night, you can find me taking care of my three boys, Musa, Roosevelt Jr., and Elloheim, and enjoying the company of my fiancé, Roosevelt Sr.

My favorite thing about summer in Phoenix is that the sun is always shining.

If I could redo my first kiss, I’d kiss him without giving him tongue.

The one dessert I refuse to eat is key lime pie.

If I was mayor of Phoenix, I would make sure that the arts were never removed from the classroom.

In high school, I was the kid who dropped out because it just wasn't challenging enough.

In another life, I was a mother of many children.

The one place in Phoenix I don’t want anyone to know about is the places that your soul is bought and your morals are compromised.

On my nightstand, you’ll find a Quran.

The fictional character I’m most like is Wonder Woman.

One thing I want to do before I die is travel to Egypt.

The best thing about Phoenix is the opportunity for growth and development.

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Niki D'Andrea has covered subjects including drug culture, women's basketball, pirate radio stations, Scottsdale staycations, and fine wine. She has worked at both New Times and Phoenix Magazine, and is now a freelancer.
Contact: Niki D'Andrea