​​(from  My Afmerica)


LIFE AS A BLONDE


My daughter proudly

delivers a paper figure 

yellow yarn for hair

Mommy, this is you, 


displaying my doppelgänger,


seductive cultural snare.


I pause to consider the latest CSI


myself victim of a killer

sharpening his knives


Why are you doing this? I sob


mascara pooling beneath

my Pecola blue eyes,


then running through the woods,


a chainsaw nipping at my heels


until I trip on a tree root

and the roar of the saw


is the last thing I hear.

So, too quickly, I say

Baby, I have black yarn here




certain life does not end well


for little black girls who imagine


sporting blonde hair.










Artress Bethany White  is a poet, essayist, and literary critic. She is the recipient of the 2018 Trio Award for her poetry collection, My Afmerica (Trio House Press, 2019), and the author of the collection Fast Fat Girls in Pink Hot Pants. Her prose and poetry have appeared in such journals as Harvard Review,Tupelo Quarterly, The Hopkins Review, Pleiades, Solstice, Poet Lore, Ecotone, and The Account. Her collection of essays, Survivor’s Guilt: Essays on Race and American Identity is forthcoming from New Rivers Press/Minnesota State University in March 2020.​White has received the Mary Hambidge Distinguished Fellowship from the Hambidge Center for Creative Arts for her nonfiction, The Mona Van Duyn Scholarship in Poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and writing residencies at The Writer’s Hotel and the Tupelo Press/MASS MoCA studios. She is current poetry faculty for the Rosemont College Summer Writers' Retreat in Pennsylvania.


​​For more information, please email:
Artress dot White at gmail dot com

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“In verse both free and deftly formal, Artress Bethany White unflinchingly mines the notion of family: biological, blended, constructed and decidedly American. She takes no prisoners, or perhaps takes us all prisoners, kicking into the necessary and discomfiting discourse of who we truly are—and how we are tied together in awful, and also surprisingly beautiful, ways.” --Danielle Legros Georges, Poet Laureate, City of Boston

Artress Bethany White

My Afmerica forces us to consider the cost of history, brutality, racism, accompanied by documented facts. In doing so, her work makes our bodies react with a nod, a jaw clench, a curse, a sigh, a held breath.  White’s art is as evident as her keen use of form translates what the textbooks often miss.  There is no overstating that My Afmerica is one of those books that should be studied as history, poetry, theory, and art. Artress Bethany White’s second collection of poetry should be committed to memory and passed down as a living, poetic, historical document.”--Willie Perdomo, The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon