"In Casual Conversation, White attends to an axiomatic ground in the pagefield. She teaches me something about the collaborative dreaming that we can be. I am saying that there is something for us here in the complex Quiets of this meditative, sustained, and intimately political work. It is something so vital and so unstoppably generative that I can only think to call it unrest."
–Aracelis Girmay, from the Foreword
"Whether waxing philosophical or poetic or recalling the inner monologues of the human–Tony Medina, author of I Am Alfonso Jones and Death, With Occasional Smiling
spirit living moment to moment in lifetimes, telling tales of tattling, playing the dozens, or
testifying, recalling lynch ropes or racial memory, Renia White's Casual Conversation is not casual nor conversant in the denouement of passivity, but are rigorously passionate
inner monologues–interrogations, perhaps–preoccupied with the human eye, ear, and
heart. In her muted Miles-Bearden collaged renderings, White is as bold and brash and
confident and causal as a musician, painter, filmmaker stopping us dead in our tracks
(as Ntozake Shange reminds us poems should do like a kiss) at such self-assured
soliloquies and spirited solos that are 'just gorgeous.' Her stilted syntax stutters lead
you into the poem slant yet makes you 'come through the front door.' In these 'blue
rummage, ' dialectics you marvel at the mastery as White splits the personal wide open
for the political (church burnings; confederate flag unlatching; mother-daughter remorse
and reckoning) to merge and mingle with your 'ear to the root' of her blues: to what
matters in her bright and shining 'hope room' of a debut."
"Casual Conversation, true to its title, contains poems of such killing nonchalance both in what they say and in the many unsayables finding space in-between memorable line after memorable line. The way Renia White finds and inhabits space is a stellar pushback against erasure and absence. A timely collection by a timeless poet."
–Ishion Hutchinson, author of House of Lords and Commons: Poems