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ISBN: 978-0-9970933-1-5
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Categories Chapbooks, Nomadic, Poetry

Black Pearl

Publication Date: March 2016


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalog. Nomadic Press originally published Black Pearl.

Love is alive in White’s Black Pearl, eight poems and poetic drama that call on the feminine presence, through ancestral memory and legacy, to heal a broken heart.


[Arisa White] is a fierceless and tender poet who always brings into view what’s strange and unusual and critical for our survival. Her poems consider what it requires to meditate and meet what’s unknown without flinching.
Dara Wier

In this book, feelings are imperative, as is an imperative depth of self awareness, one that brings the reader to the edge. These stakes are no small stakes. Demanding, you need to let down your terror and There is no peace in running the truth of you, Arisa White builds a world where one must go to the edge in order to connect with one’s own body and the bodies of others. One must speak in—and through—dislocation. The voices in this book seek always to locate themselves, and seem deeply committed to a life of dis/location. Across this island body I toss salt, she writes, I will not resemble trees and their reaching, and tosses us into forms poetic and dramatic, tosses us with her through relationship, earth, plant-life, race, police violence, history, identity and queerness, her language equally tossing amongst itself and its contexts, searching, pressing for what is true.
Leora Fridman, author of My Fault

History, memory, absence: how can we listen to the silenced names, the silencing betrayal of power, and the silence before it breaks? Black Pearl takes a searing, fearless look into the violence on the heart and construct of identity, and pushes “into the touch of things” to feel “our names inside” the rooted will that endures, the will that remembers, the will that loves.

Arisa White writes a kind of heroic resistance that sings contrapuntally, we do not forget intertwined histories and perspectives that are at the heart of a reign of brutality, we sing into the future the litany of dead names. We are led compassionately and fiercely, to organize a cosmological we.
Tsering Wangmo Dhompa

About the Author

© Caitlin Penna

Arisa White

Arisa White is an associate professor of English and Creative Writing at Colby College. Most recently, she is the author of Who’s Your Daddy, co-editor of Home Is Where You Queer Your Heart, and co-author of Biddy Mason Speaks Up, the second book in the Fighting for Justice Series for young readers. Her poetry is widely published and her collections have been nominated for an NAACP Image Award, Lambda Literary Award, and have won the Per Diem Poetry Prize, Maine Literary Award, Nautilus Book Award, an Independent Publisher Book Award, and Golden Crown Literary Award.  As the creator of the Beautiful Things Project, Arisa curates poetic collaborations that are rooted in Black queer women’s ways of knowing. She is a Cave Canem fellow and serves on the Community Advisory Board for Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance. Currently, in development with composer Jessica Jones, Arisa is working on Post Pardon: The Opera. arisawhite.com

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