“When I hear a word like underdog, it is vital for me to do my poet’s work and approach language as material.”

Arisa shares Underdog poem-speeches with us that show how she approaches language as a material, reinforcing the power she feels that thrives creation. She doesn’t define herself as an outsider anymore, she affirms she is in the house, held by her inheritance of black women social practices. She describes it as an oppositional knowledge that inviting us to counter the hate, build criticality and make space for physical, emotional and spiritual care.

About the speaker

Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and the author of the full-length poetry collections You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened, A Penny Saved, and Hurrah’s Nest. Her poetry has been nominated for a Lambda Literary Award, NAACP Image Award, California Book Award, and Wheatley Book Award. The chapbook “Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife won the inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize. She’s the co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice series for young readers, which received a Maine Literary Award, Nautilus Book Award, and an Independent Publishers Award. Forthcoming in 2021 from Augury Books is her poetic memoir, Who’s Your Daddy. As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates poetic collaborations that center narratives of queer people of color. She serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press and is an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College.

Photo Credit: Nye Lyn Tho

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