Blog Book Tour | A Poetic Memoir within the poetry collection of “Who’s Your Daddy” by Arisa White

Posted Wednesday, 21 April, 2021 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

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I have been hosting for Poetic Book Tours for a few years now, where I am finding myself encouraged to seek out collections of poetry or incredible fiction being published through Small Trade publishers and presses. I have an Indie spirit and mentality as a writer and I appreciate finding authors who are writing creative works through Indie resources as I find Indies have a special spirit about them. It is a joy to work with Poetic Book Tours for their resilience in seeking out voices in Literature which others might overlook and thereby, increasing my own awareness of these beautiful lyrical voices in the craft.

I received a complimentary copy of “Who’s Your Daddy” direct from the publisher Augury Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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Re-visiting what I loved about reading Arisa White’s poetry:

As you disappear into the mind of Ms White – you see how raw and visually acute she leaves behind her impressions of not only sexuality but of life – of the differences between cultures and the mindfulness of sensing what is not yet spoken aloud. She has a way of intuiting what is meant to be understood out of the recesses of memory whilst augmenting her own experiences against that of what is perceived by others of being a truth they could accept by their own observations. She tucks into the hearty topics of our world – whilst owning the rawer bits that are not always spoken about – in poetry or in everyday conversations.

White etches out her own authentic truth and the truth of everyone seeking to find love, compassion, acceptance and beauty in their life. She humbling approaches her poetry with the intrinsically of a woman who breathes a lifeblood of passion for living and the joy of embracing each new day as one full of possibility. Some of the poems are hard to read due to their emotional conviction and others, are a bit more sublime in how they can articulate the moment of life being captured within their poetic home. There is an umbrage of living narrative running throughout the collection that celebrates how life is lived and deeply felt whilst granting us a view of a passage of life different from our own.

-quoted from my review of You’re the Most Beautiful Thing That Happened

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Blog Book Tour | A Poetic Memoir within the poetry collection of “Who’s Your Daddy” by Arisa WhiteWho's Your Daddy
by Arisa White (2021)
Source: Publisher via Poetic Book Tours

A lyrical, genre-bending coming-of-age tale featuring a queer, Black, Guyanese American woman who, while seeking to define her own place in the world, negotiates an estranged relationship with her father.

Genres: LGBTQIA Fiction, Non-Fiction, Memoir, Poetry & Drama

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781936767618

Published by Augury Books

on 1st March, 2021

Format: Paperback Edition

Pages: 137

Published By: Augury Books (@augurybooks)

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #Poetry

About Arisa White (2021)

Arisa White Photo Credit: by Nye Lyn Tho

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 coauthor of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, winner of the Maine Literary Book Award for Young People’s Literature and the Nautilus Book Award Gold Medal for Middle Grade Nonfiction. She serves on the board of directors for Foglifter and Nomadic Press.

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As soon as you open “Who’s Your Daddy” you entreat into the memories of the poet – as she takes you back through her childhood and early memories of growing up. It is here you peer into her world and the life she’s lived as if time were no consequence and all is revealled just as it had once been known. You walk beside her as she revisits her earliest memories of her biological and step-fathers – how she lived in fear of most of them and how in many respects, the fathers themselves do not understand her nor take the time to know her even as a young child. Her childhood is rife with traumatic events – most critically is how she described the SWAT team evading her family’s apartment and how that moment in her life was firmly imprinted on her memories.

Each block of paragraph in this collection is a time capsule of her life and the emotions therein – you can feel as if you’ve lived these hours yourself by how White infuses memory with raw emotion and with a descriptive acuity which reaffirms what is happening in each block of revisitation. What is interesting about how she’s collected this collection is how it organically moves forward – from one memory to another and yet, critically shifts its focus from the original takeaways she might have had at those younger ages to what she might now recollect to understand today. The pacing fits well with Memoir – as you’re able to retreat into this journey with her and better understand the path she’s walked through each transitional moment of her life.

This is the first poetic Memoir I have read and I found it quite interesting how you can lay out the length of your life through bridges of prose and encapsulated memories which read as if their short stories being played out in the reel of your own biographical film.

Part of her story is hard to read if you’ve had a loving father in your life and realise not all fathers are like yours – to where, Arisa as a young girl had to grow up in the reality of knowing the men in her life who were meant to be ‘fathers’ to her were anything but. They didn’t treat her nicely and they had no respect for her either – if anything, it was like her and her siblings were interfering with the time they could spend with her mother. It is hard to imagine why her mother was with these kind of men – the kind who treat mothers and children as they had and not see the profound lasting effect this would have on her children. It is gutting to read and yet it is realistically true of how domestic abuse is not just insidious but it creeps into your life quite slowly and has a way of overtaking your sense of self and how you feel about the persons who are inflicting the harm to you and your family. In essence, the grip of control men have over women and how some women do not realise how much control they’ve given over to men.

The hardest grief in this Memoir is recognising her search for her father’s affection and acceptance is ill-wrought – as he isn’t able to give her unconditional love and acceptance at all. He is quite self-centred and only thinks of himself and his own needs. He lashes out in anger and is quick to criticise her whenever he can – even years later – when she’s an adult and is trying to reach back through the void in their lives to find a way to reconnect, to forgive and perhaps to move forward anew; yet Gerald never allows her to do this – he keeps her rooted in the pain of what she always knew she had of him and doesn’t allow her the grace to shift forward without him needling her further with barbs which root against her soul.

The rawness of this Memoir is assertative as much as it is dramatic – it seeks to find traction between what is remembered and what is self-truth; to walk the line between how our memories try to define us and how we try to define ourselves outside of the memories themselves. It is part of seeking to find our own truth and the truth others would rather we understood from their own perspective in deference to our own. The critical bit of course is that memory and time are two things no one can remove from someone because everyone has their own record of their life – how their experiences shaped their world-view and how their memories affected how they proceed forward – everything is tethered to our emotions and our observations through our lives – how we process what we experience and how those experiences affect us lateron. This is a Memoir which seeks to showcase those experiences which collectively shaped Arisa White and how in a long search for ‘father’ she was left with the question ‘Who’s Your Daddy’ moreso than she was given the answer to whom she could call ‘father’.

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Small Fly in the Ointment: Note on Content:

Sometimes I give a pass on the language used by writers and poets; as sometimes in the context of the stories they’ve written, you can understand the choices for stronger words and the use of vulgarity. However, this collection is quite stocked with strong language and in some ways, distracted me a bit from reading the collection because it became a bit more intense for me to segue away from in order to read the biographical sketches of Ms White’s life. Thereby if your a reader like I am who might be more sensitive to strong language than others, please be advised.

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This blog tour is courtesy of:

Poetic Book ToursFollow the blog tour for more readerly insights & reactions.

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I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary! Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I appreciate hearing different points of view especially amongst readers who picked up the same story to read.

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Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 21 April, 2021 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, Fly in the Ointment, Indie Author, Introspective Literary Fiction, LGBTTQPlus Fiction | Non-Fiction, Memoir, Modern Day, Non-Fiction, Poetic Book Tours, Poetry, Vignettes of Real Life, Vulgarity in Literature

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2 responses to “Blog Book Tour | A Poetic Memoir within the poetry collection of “Who’s Your Daddy” by Arisa White

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Cox,

      I admit, compared to other collections I’ve read and reviewed; this one did push me quite a bit outside my comfort zones – simply due to the differences in how we were raised and the circumstances of our childhoods. Having said that – White leaves the door open for discussion and examining harder truths about life, love and self-identity which I felt were universal. I’m thankful I could dig into the heart of her messages and to find a way to start discussing this collection. Hopefully others will be as inspired and the conversation can continue forward from here. Thank you as always for including me on the tour.

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