Who’s Your Daddy

Augury Books | Order here

2022 GCLS “Goldie” Book Award Winner

34th Lambda Literary Award Finalist

2022 Maine Literary Award Finalist

In these crisply narrative poems, which unreel like heart-wrenching fragments of film, Arisa White not only names that gaping chasm between father and daughter, but graces it with its true and terrible face. Every little colored girl who has craved the constant of her father’s gaze will recognize this quest, which the poet undertakes with lyric that is tender and unerring.
Patricia Smith, Incendiary Art

Arisa White channels the ear of Zora Neale Hurston, the tongue of Toni Cade Bambara, and the eye of Alice Walker in the wondrous Who’s Your Daddy. She channels Guyanese proverbs, Shango dreams, games of hide and seek, and memories of an absentee father to shape the spiritual condition. What she makes is “a maze that bobs and weaves a new style whenever there’s a demand to love.” What she gives us are archives, allegories, and wholly new songs.
Terrance Hayes, American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins

Somewhere nearing its end, Arisa White says of Who’s Your Daddy, it’s “a portrait of absence and presence, a story, a tale, told in patchwork fashion…” This exactly says what Who’s Your Daddy is, though it doesn’t say all it takes to do justice to the mythic paradox an absent parent guarantees a child, young or grown, or what it takes to live with and undergo such birthright. There’s not only a father’s absence and presence, there’s a mother who says you raise your daughters, and love your sons, there are stepfathers, uncles, aunts, cousins, a grandmother, brothers, lovers, all of whom leave their marks and give and take love. Surrounding the whole book hovers the questions do I forgive him, and is forgiveness possible? This beautifully, honestly conceived genius of a book shook me to the core.
Dara Wier, You Good Thing

How does a lyric memoir—a queered-up autobiographical hybrid of prose and poetry—become a real page-turner? Well, for one thing, its speaker uses her authenticity and open-heartedness to generate a rib-cracking amount of courage to look for, find, and emotionally confront a missing Guyanese father who ends up being the “unhello” of a “nevermind.” What’s so moving about this discovery is the speaker’s lyric response. It’s a shrug that’s a song that’s the speaker telling it experimentally-straight about how it feels to have “arms free of fathers.” It’s a story that’s a song that’s the speaker’s “gangster swagger” that beautifully tells of how to confront one’s relation to “a culture of deadbeats, wannabes, has-beens, what-ifs, [and] can’t-shows” without succumbing to despair. One really wants to quote Plath’s line here about “eat[ing] men like air.” Oh, I love the courage of this book. The whole “black heart” and love-strength of it. And you will too!
Adrian Blevins, Appalachians Run Amok

A lyric anthem for the fatherless, for seekers of the places and people that made us, for the artists ready to unearth and reshape their own stories. I gulped this exquisite manual like precious medicine, a spell that made me more myself.
Melissa Febos, Girlhood

Collaborative, interactive, this work of poetry and memoir offers life as a recurring question. Who’s Your Daddy is a study of how power and loss work on the intimate scales of daily living and queer loving. Read this with compassion for your own defining questions and the raw texture they have left upon your heart.
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals

Who’s Your Daddy is striking and gorgeous. “I’m born into a bracket of boys,” White writes, framing a portrait of fatherhood that shutters and aches; it enthralls. I wanted to lap it up. A reflection on family that permeates via knitted prose with deep verse—my favorite kind. White’s work is sonic, lyric, and important. I can’t wait for y’all to read this book.
Emerson Whitney, Heaven

Home Is Where You Queer Your Heart

Home is Where You Queer Your Heart

Foglifter Press |
Edited by Miah Jeffra, Monique Mero-Williams, and Arisa White

Biddy Mason Speaks Up
Biddy Mason Speaks Up

Heyday Books |
Fighting for Justice Book Series | Ages 9-14yrs
Arisa White & Laura Atkins; illustrated by Laura Freeman

Winner of a 2020 Nautilus Book Award, Maine Literary Award, Independent Publisher Book Award, and 2021 FOCAL Award

You're The Most Beautiful Thing

You’re The Most Beautiful Thing That Happened

Augury Books |
29th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalist, 2016 Julie Suk Award Longlist Finalist

A Penny Saved cover (front)

A Penny Saved

Willow Books |


Hurrah’s Nest

Virtual Artists Collective |
44th NAACP Image Award Nominee, 82nd California Book Award Finalist, 2013 Wheatley Book Award Finalist


dear Gerald,

Self-published |


“Fish Walking” & Other Bedtime Stories for My Wife

Per Diem Press | Purchase here
Winner of the Inaugural Per Diem Poetry Prize

Black Pearl

Black Lawrence Press |


Post Pardon

Mouthfeel Press |


Disposition for Shininess

Factory Hollow Press | (sold out)


This Is the Honey: An Anthology of Contemporary Black Poets
Little, Brown and Company |

Mouths of Rain

Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought
New Press |

Winner of the 2022 Judy Grahn Award for Lesbian Nonfiction

Furious Flower

Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry
Northwestern University Press |

Choice Words

Choice Words: Writers on Abortion
Haymarket Books |

Enough! Poems of Resistance and Protest (Contemporary Maine Poetry Series)
Littoral Books |

Trespass: Ecotone Essayists Beyond the Boundaries of Place, Identity, and Feminism
Lookout Books |

Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color
Nightboat Books |

Know Me Here: An Anthology of Poetry by Women
WordTemple Press |


Street Lit: Representing the Urban Landscape
Scarecrow Press |


Collective Brightness: LGBTIQ Poets on Faith, Religion & Spirituality
Sibling Rivalry Press |


Knocking at the Door: Poems for Approaching the Other
Birch Bench Press |

Other Anthologies

Another & Another: An Anthology From the Grind Daily Writing Series
Bull City Press

Cave Canem Anthology XII: Poems 2008-2009
Willow Books

The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self Empowerment
Pixelita Press