It’s no secret that we at the Narrator are big fans of poet and writer Arisa White. White’s poetry collections Hurrah’s Nest and A Penny Saved both have been reviewed on our blog before, but now we will have the chance to hear her work in person during our quarterly Writing Aloud Reading Series on March 19th. White will be our featured writer and read selections of each work alongside our talented workshop participants at the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), just below NYWC’s office!
The Bay Area poet who was born and raised in Brooklyn recently received the distinct honor of an NAACP Image Award nomination for Hurrah’s Nest , which took ten years to complete and wrestled with themes of domestic abuse. The motifs of destruction/reconstruction, captivity, origins points and senses of ‘home’, seem only natural when considering how White engages with her own writing. In an interview with Serena Augusto-Cox from Savy Verse & Wit, White contextualizes her work as such:
I’m making sense of what’s going around me, as well as to investigate what is going inside of me. Who am I? I feel that urgency to know, even more so, having relocated to the West six years ago and removed from the people, places, and things that I have defined myself with and by. The poems I’m writing now are an expression of my heroic journey.
‘The Journey’ is a familiar trajectory chronicled via a chorus of voices and narrators who carry us through White’s most recent collection, A Penny Saved. As our Social Justice Editor, Rebecca McCray, notes in her review for the Narrator, A Penny Saved succeeds in deeply exploring a story of abuse and imprisonment where other texts easily misstep and become superficial. White’s ability to move beyond typifying abuse victims and their abusers allows her to explore more complex questions surrounding survival. This difficult task ensures that White’s own depiction of both resilience and the many iterations of support and togetherness resonates with her readers. As an organization that aims to foster a diverse community of writers, we couldn’t be more excited that Arisa White will be featured alongside our own supportive network of workshop participants.
Make sure to mark your calendars for our first Writing Aloud event of the year on March 19th at 6:30pm at MoCADA (80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn).