ARISA W 8.jpg
ARISA W 8.jpg

Issue 4 Arisa


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Issue 4 Arisa


This month I was delighted to be in the company of Arisa White, author of You're the Most Beautiful Thing That HappenedBlack Pearl, Post Pardon, Hurrah's Nest, A Penny Saved, and dear Gerald.  Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow, and currently teaches in the BFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.  Our conversation sailed many waters as we discussed what inspired the Beautiful Things Project, what happens when we touch ourselves, and how to rescue an identity from erasure.  For our photo shoot, we explored, struck some poses, and got all the way turnt up in Berkeley's enchanting Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles.


We have to let go of what we believe of ourselves to actually imagine something more.
 
It was this aesthetic and poetic challenge to think about how to center queer gay lesbian narratives in my poetry in such a way where it wasn’t falling into the same old tropes.
 
I always didn’t feel like a proper girl...as if it was my fault. Like I’m designing the clothes or my body is a bad design. So there was always this sense of anxiety around my body.
 
How can poetry be in these spaces with folks who aren’t in classrooms, or bookstores, or listening to NPR?
 
...I inherited from the black women in my family...the struggle of sharecropping, slavery, and migrating to up to the north...growing up in Brooklyn, Caribbean father...I get to take all of those tools..I get to bring it into queerness, into being a lesbian and create spaces of rupture.
 
It’s fear. I think when these things start to resurface it has to do with fear of loss and erasure.
 
Through being disenfranchised, being marginalized, we occupy a certain place within our cultural imagination that makes us kin.
 

Find out more about Arisa at arisawhite.com and keep up with the Beautiful Things Project via facebook and instagram under "Beautiful Things Project".