About the Book
About the Author
A Penny Saved
is the second volume of poetry from award-winning poet Arisa White, published
by Willow Books. It
reimagines the true story of Polly
Mitchell, who was held captive in her home for 10 years.
Poetically/fictitiously reinvented and renamed Penny, the book’s
protagonist is held in her home for 12 years. The collection is arranged in
three sections. In each, Penny’s voice is juxtaposed with another: we encounter
the voice of the House in the opening section; the oldest daughter Elizabeth
and her imaginary friend Jewelie in the second; and the third section concludes
with the husband’s voice, which is part apology and remorse. Each voice brings
to the fore an intimate perspective of Penny’s captivity and abuse and the role
of each character/voice within this violence.
While White, whose first book, Hurrah’s Nest—finalist for the 82nd California Book
Awards and 2013 NAACP Image Award—acknowledges that she cannot know what Polly
Mitchell endured, A Penny Saved
reflects White’s attempt to turn over—in her mind and on the page—the
interconnected tangle of complicity and abuse.
Polly Mitchell’s doors were literally bolted, her windows
nailed shut. White uses Mitchell’s story as a way to investigate the parts we
play in enabling violent situations around us and the things we think are
necessary to secure our survival and the survival of the ones we love.
HEARTS: Stories of Domestic Violence, a photographic project inspired by true stories of domestic violence
documented by Kate Sartor Hilburn and Terrie Queen Autrey of Louisiana.
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