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Author Discussion: Who’s Your Daddy by Arisa White in conversation with Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei
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.

Mar 3, 2021 05:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Arisa White
Arisa White is a Cave Canem fellow and an assistant professor of creative writing at Colby College. She is the author of four books, including the poetry collection You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened and Hurrah’s Nest. She is the coauthor of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice Series for young readers, which won the Maine Literary Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Middle-Grade Nonfiction. As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates poetic collaborations that center narratives of queer and trans people of color. She serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press. Find her at arisawhite.com.
Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei
Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei was once called “the most intriguing African-American Buddhist” by Library Journal, and “one of our wisest voices on social evolution” by Krista Tippett, Rev. angel Kyodo williams Sensei, is an author, maverick spiritual teacher, master trainer and founder of Transformative Change. She has been bridging the worlds of personal transformation and justice since the publication of her critically-acclaimed book, Being Black: Zen and the Art of Living With Fearlessness and Grace. Being Black was hailed as “an act of love” by Pulitzer Prize winner Alice Walker and “a classic” by Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Her new co-authored book, Radical Dharma: Talking Race, Love & Liberation, is a powerful wake-up journey that is igniting communities — activist, Buddhist and beyond — to have the conversations necessary to become more awake and aware of what hinders liberation of self and society. The Radical Dharma events that have emerged from the book: Connections,