home page

New book: The World Disguised as This One: a year in tanka

by Mimi White

From the back cover:

One of the oldest Japanese forms, the tanka (or waka) originated
in seventh-century Japan. Perhaps less well known to Western
audiences than the haiku, it predates this form by several hundred
years. The tanka usually contains thirty-one syllables or sound units,
nearly double the haiku’s seventeen. Like the haiku, the tanka’s
central image is taken from nature, but a shift almost always occurs
when that image is recast through a more personal lens. As Yoel
Hoffman writes in his introduction to Japanese Death Poems, “The
tanka poet may be likened to a person holding two mirrors in his
hands, one reflecting a scene from nature, the other reflecting himself
as he holds the first mirror.”

Praise for The World Disguised as This One:
This beautifully observed, penetrating collection of tanka slips itself
into and under awareness. A narrative holding equally an illness’s
navigation and the abiding, altering beauty of existence, each five-line
poem is complete in itself, a world presented in full. Yet in reading
these pages through, their accumulation leads to a shifted landscape
of being. As life itself does.
       —Jane Hirshfield

Praise for Memory Won’t Save Me, a haibun:
When the Japanese poet-monk Basho invented the haibun, the alternating
haiku and prose in which he documented his travels, he certainly never
imagined what a poet could do with the form in twenty-first century
American English. Mimi White’s Memory Won’t Save Me is an ingenious,
fascinating appropriation, an account of both physical and emotional travel.
       —Chase Twichell

Read interview in Seacoastonline

Mimi White, former Portsmouth NH Poet Laureate

Mimi reading

Mimi reading book launch at RiverRun Books in Portmouth NH

Mimi reading book event













Mimi White, author of The Last Island, Deerbrook Editions 2008

The Last Island received The Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Poetry 2009

Mimi's first chapbook won the Philbrick Award in 2000 chosen by Robert Creeley


cover photo by Sharon Beals

Christian Science Monitor review

Mimi White, author of The Last Island, has been teaching creative writing for twenty-five years, and was Co-Director of PicturePoets of AIR, a non-profit organization that provides enriching arts and cultural experiences to teenage girls. She has been a finalist and a recipient of a NH State Fellowship in Poetry. Her chapbook The Singed Horizon was selected by Robert Creeley as the recipient of the 2000 Philbrick Poetry Award. Poet Laureate of Portsmouth, New Hampshire 2005-2007, she is currently working to reduce the effects of global warming as a member of Rye, New Hampshire's Energy Committee.

The Last Island has received The Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry 2009 Awarded by The New Hampshire Writers' Project

The Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry Awarded to a poet for an outstanding book or chapbook of poetry. This award is given in honor of Jane Kenyon, the New Hampshire poet laureate who died in April 1995. A $500 cash prize is part of this award. (This award was endowed in memoriam to Jane Kenyon in 1996.)

Past recipients: Maggie Dietz, 2007; Patricia Fargnoli, 2005; L. R. Berger, 2003; Wesley McNair, 2003; Cleopatra Mathis, 2001; Cynthia Huntington, 1998; Charles Simic, 1996.

Winners of the NH Literary Award for Outstanding Poetry: Jane Kenyon, 1994; Maxine Kumin, 1992.

JUDGES : Betsy Sholl, Daniel Tobin, Cynthia Huntington

Judges Comments: "Mimi White's poems in The Last Island are at once vividly observed and finely calibrated to the kind of emotional nuance that escapes so many poets writing today. With their modest formal variations and constant attunements to the physical world in service of the always personal encounter with desire and wonder and loss, Mimi White's poems balance dazzlingly along the fine line between objective reality and subjective feeling, tuning into both signals at once with clarity, honesty, and depth. The result is a poetry that is both quietly full-throated and always fully and passionately human."


In these deft poems Mimi White traces with great sensitivity a landscape of intimacy. It is a place that is hazardous and rewarding, brimming with feeling that has been tried and retried. One reads poetry to deepen one's sense of what it is to be alive–these poems do that with admirable concision.  –Baron Wormser

Mimi White's mesmerizing book, The Last Island, is a many-faceted love story and, like love, insists you look again in wonder at history, your own gardens, relationships, children, pets, your nearly unbearable losses, and your own mortality. Through the alchemy of these smart, strong poems, you come to realize just how lucky you are to be alive. In the book's first poem, the narrator, while watching a house burn down, finds herself in a reverie concerning the gifts and grief that come from a passionate relationship. And it's the burning house that stayed with me as I read this book. The body itself is a house, of sorts and living —a fire full of terror but also great beauty. Be prepared as you read for many unexpected transformations, for revelations that arise from the most common events: visiting an old poet in his garden, feeding your beloved dog although you know he will die soon, releasing a newly healed bird into the orchard. And best of all, after you finish reading, these poems stay with you, their richness, their music, their sturdy love returning just when you need them most.  –Mekeel McBride

Praise for Mimi White: The Singed Horizon

The Philbrick Poetry Award 2000 "These are poems of a deceptive quiet and simplicity, just that they make, together, a landscape of painful, almost surreal insistence." –Robert Creeley

also reviewed in Small Press Review July; August, Vol. 40 N0s. 7-8 Issue– below