Arisa White

29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist; 
2016 Julie Suk Award Longlist Finalist;
Winner of the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize

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I want people to heal themselves through storytelling and locate the poetry in their lives to build narratives that are nuanced and varied, that center truth and love as power. All of which requires embodiment—rootedness in the emotional intelligence of the body. Doing so creates new pathways for creativity to emerge.

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 and author of the poetry chapbooks Post Pardon, Black Pearl, and “Fishing Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife—winner of the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. Hurrah’s Nest (Virtual Artists Collective, 2012) was a nominee for the Phillis Wheatley Book Awards, California Book Awards, and the NAACP Image Awards. A Penny Saved (Aquarius Press, 2012) is inspired by the true-life story of Polly Mitchell who was held captive in her home. Roxane Gay calls White's newest collection, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened (Augury Books, 2016), “an assured and memorable book of poetry, one that provokes thought as it provokes a depth of feeling.” Forthcoming in 2019 is the children's book Fighting For Justice: Biddy Mason Speaks Up, co-written with Laura Atkins, (Heyday Books) and the hybrid poetry memoir, Who's Your Daddy? (Augury Books).

Awarded a 2013-14 Cultural Funding grant from the City of Oakland to create the libretto and score for Post Pardon: The Opera, she 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. As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates cultural events and artistic collaborations that center narratives of queer people of color. She serves on the board of directors for Nomadic Press and is an assistant professor of Creative Writing at Colby College. Arisa White is based out of Hallowell, Maine.

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