Arisa White

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist; 
2016 Julie Suk Award Longlist Finalist

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Workshops and Craft Talks

Craft Talks:

How I Became A Healing Poet

Queer Imaginary: A Black Female Aesthetic


Dear _____: A Epistolary Workshop

From the Light: Writing About Wounding Experiences

I Feel You: Writing 3-D Emotional Imagery

Let’s Be Naked: Using Vulnerability As A Creative Tool

Reinvigorating Your Writing Practice

What’s Going On?!: Writing Poetry of Witness

Would You Wear My Eyes?: The Persona Poem

Write Place: A Writing Workshop

Speaker Statement

As a poet, dramatist, and educator, I have used my writing to uncover, reclaim, and restore; it’s a lens to engage loss and bring healing attention to what is silenced, forgotten, or ignored. Often my subjects are socially marginalized within our systems of organization and through my writing I’m deepening social justice literacy and developing a greater capacity for reading connections between systems of government, the environment, brown and black female bodies, sexism and homophobia, and mental well-being. Lately, I have been exploring the questions of what is a queer black female aesthetic and how to construct a multilayered narrative that centers queer black female experiences and the particular issues and concerns that arise from the interstices of race, class, sex and sexuality. Moreover, I hope to examine what elements can I borrow from different genres and disciplines to build a narrative that is varied and distinct—that essentially embodies the sensuous and intellectual logic of the queer black female body living today.

White weaves sensuality, intimacy, and darkness into assured poems. — Publisher's Weekly

Arisa White is a poet to aspire to. — Kenyon Review

Arisa White repurposes pain and inscribes it with love, tenderness, poetry. “You” becomes witness to the beauty held in what was once called derogatory. “You” is able to witness the act of reclaiming language. — Lambda Literary



Arisa white is a Cave Canem fellow, Sarah Lawrence College alumna, an MFA graduate from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and author of the poetry chapbooks Disposition for Shininess, Post Pardon, and Black Pearl. Published by Virtual Artists Collective, her debut full-length collection, Hurrah’s Nest, was a finalist for the 2013 Wheatley Book Awards, 82nd California Book Awards, and nominated for a 44th NAACP Image Awards. Her second collection, A Penny Saved, inspired by the true-life story of Polly Mitchell, was published by Willow Books, an imprint of Aquarius Press in 2012. Her newest collection, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, was published by Augury Books.

Arisa was awarded a 2013-14 Cultural Funding grant from the City of Oakland to create the libretto and score for Post Pardon: The Opera, and received, in that same year, an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation to fund the dear Gerald project, which takes a personal and collective look at absent fathers.

Selected by the San Francisco Bay Guardian for the 2010 Hot Pink List, Arisa is a member of the PlayGround writers’ pool. Arisa serves on the board of directors for Nomadic Press. She is a faculty advisor in the low- residency BFA Creative Writing Program at Goddard College and was a visiting scholar at San Francisco State University’s The Poetry Center, where she developed a digital special collections on Black Women Poets in The Poetry Center Archives. For the spring 2017 semester, the graduate creative writing program at Saint Mary’s College of California welcomes Arisa as the distinguished visiting poet in residence. Arisa White is based out of Oakland, CA.

More titles by Arisa White