Who’s Your Daddy is Arisa White's debut poetic memoir for which, with funding from the Center for Cultural Innovation in Los Angeles, she was able to go to Guyana, South America, to meet her father after 30-plus years of estrangement. With this same artist grant, White was able to offer community workshops for people to write letters to their own absent fathers, and some of those letters became centos in the collection.
Poet Terrance Hayes writes that Who’s Your Daddy “gives us archives, allegories, and wholly new songs.” It is a collection of healing and repair, which took White seven years to complete, starting in her Jesus Year. Through the lyric, she attempts to renovate her relationship with her father, patriarchy, and masculinity from the absence he gave. Augury Books will publish Who’s Your Daddy on March 1, 2021.
Much of Arisa White's poetry and contemplative practice have been informed by the spiritual writings and dharma talks of Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, most recently her coauthored book Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love, and Liberation. Their relationship has spanned two decades, starting in White's late teens in Brooklyn, New York. williams belief in personal inner transformation for collective outer change is the spiritual love force that undergirds Who’s Your Daddy.
In this convening of White and williams, they will address sustaining a creative practice that honors their being and queer blackness, the contemplative arts as muse and form, and how the question of 'who’s your daddy' is not only personal but an opportunity to reflect on the political power and social control that story—the ones we tell ourselves and ones told about us—has on our daily lives.