Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Even This Page Is White

Rate this book
Goodreads Choice Award
Nominee for Best Poetry (2016)
Vivek's debut collection of poetry is a bold and timely interrogation of skin: its origins, functions, and limitations. Poems that range in style from starkly concrete to limber break down the barriers that prevent understanding of what it means to be racialized. Shraya paints the face of everyday racism with words, rendering it visible, tangible, and undeniable.

116 pages, Paperback

First published September 13, 2016

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Vivek Shraya

12 books982 followers
Vivek Shraya is an artist whose body of work crosses the boundaries of music, literature, visual art, theatre, and film. She is the author of The Subtweet, Death Threat, even this page is white, The Boy & The Bindi, She of the Mountains, and God Loves Hair; and her best-selling I’m Afraid of Men was her­ald­ed by Vanity Fair as “cultural rocket fuel”. She is one half of the music duo Too Attached, founder of the publishing imprint VS. Books, and an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Calgary.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
778 (40%)
4 stars
730 (37%)
3 stars
329 (17%)
2 stars
69 (3%)
1 star
27 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 306 reviews
Profile Image for Jenny (Reading Envy).
3,876 reviews3,121 followers
August 8, 2018
Amazingly, this is not the first book of poems by a transgender or gender fluid Canadian person-of-color that I've read in the last two weeks (the previous was A Place Called No Homeland, also highly recommended.) Another great read for National Poetry Month.

The subheadings of these poems should draw anyone in - "white dreams," "whitespeak," "how to talk to a white person," "the origins of skin," and "brown dreams." Clearly this collection will speak to race, what it is to live as a person of color in a white dominated world (I mean it's Canada!), and the intersectionality of that reality alongside lgbt living. Lots of fodder there for great poetry!

white dreams
"i have white dreams...
but even my bones
are white...
this page
is white
so i protest this page..."
Profile Image for jenny✨.
578 reviews842 followers
October 21, 2020
absolutely incredible. i will never tire of these poems; i see something new and revelatory with each (re)read.

visceral and wholly engaging, even this page is white is a poetic amalgam of memoir, manifesto, confessional, scholarly fragments, and excerpts drawn from online spaces (including interviews and comments sections)—and thus also an amalgam of shraya’s intersectional identities as a trans brown woman and creative in canada.

i had the fortune of reading this collection for a contemporary canlit class last year, and then again this week when i decided to base a theory paper for my multicultural counselling class off these poems (and the epigraph by george elliott clarke in particular).

the page is always white
because it is a void—
“a voidance”—
until ink cometh to
make it right—
and blankness is destroyed—
and black words dance.
—george elliott clarke
(december 2015)

if you haven’t had a chance to already, i implore you to read these poems.
Profile Image for Emma.
932 reviews887 followers
May 23, 2020
I think this book is a very interesting and powerful read and I definitely see myself coming back to it in the future time and time again, just because of some very insightful points that it brings up about race, racism and being an ally. I totally recommend this read to everyone. Also, I'm very looking forward to reading more by Vivek Shraya.
Profile Image for Alice.
779 reviews2,852 followers
February 6, 2017
An important collection discussing crucial issues in our society. Some poems were fantastic, but I found the style of a lot of them difficult to get on with.
Profile Image for Tori (InToriLex).
464 reviews368 followers
February 7, 2017
Find this and other Reviews at In Tori Lex

These poems were riveting and powerful. I was so happy to give this poetry collection a read. I first heard about this book when it was a nominee for a 2016 Goodreads choice award in the poetry category. The title had me intrigued and the reading experience was so much more than I expected. Not only does the author address racial issues, but the self-esteem issues that emerge in a society that does not value you the way that you are. Shraya is unafraid to be inspired by the world, and was able to craft a memorable collection that discusses truth and white supremacy.

What's pictured is a very small sample of the creativity and topics that are discussed. There is an extensive conversation that the author has with white people in the book, because "white people listen to white people". There is also a number of pieces that address gender constructs and discrimination. It was refreshing to see Shraya address these topics fearlessly and in a creative and memorable fashion. Every one should read this book not only to get into poetry but to expand their perspective and world view. Now more then ever we should celebrate difference and embrace the ugly truth about how our society deals with it.

In addition to the poems included, you also get access to a wonderful single for purchasing the book. The acknowledgements section is a great place to discover other wonderful scholars and artists on race. You will not regret reading and learning from this art.
Profile Image for Sleepless Dreamer.
863 reviews245 followers
July 3, 2020
I am deeply conflicted about whether to count this as my Canada book for my reading challenge because it's not really about Canada and frankly, I thought the author was American. However, the author is Canadian and if I'll be overly picky about which books I count, I might never finish this challenge.

Anyway, review to come!
Profile Image for Vanessa.
876 reviews1,108 followers
June 4, 2020
This collection has been on my radar for years, and I've always been holding out for a physical copy but unable to find one new. But I finally decided to bite the bullet and get it on Kindle because it felt like the perfect time to read it.

This collection is incredibly important in the messages it relays - Shraya covers a variety of topics, from racism to white privilege to gender. There are some exceptionally powerful poems in here that really worked for me, my favourite being the first poem White Dreams. If you don't read any other poem in this collection, at least seek that one out. There is also a poem in the middle of the book, Conversation with White Friends, that is exactly what it sounds like - a conversation between Shraya and three white women talking about white privilege and their work towards being allies. It feels incredibly timely and important to be reading content like this right now, and it was eye-opening to say the least.

That being said, Shraya's writing style didn't always work for me. I do tend to struggle with modern poetry a little, and I usually find I need a clear rhythm or some kind of rhyming scheme to properly get into the flow of any poetry I'm reading. Shraya's writing style is much more raw and off-the-cuff, and while it is very powerful, I couldn't quite get to grips with it as much as I would have liked. I also think that the Kindle edition of this book isn't formatted all that well for some of the poems, and I will have to definitely seek out a physical copy for whenever I decide to return to this.

But I would thoroughly recommend reading this, and I'd be keen to try and find more of Shraya's work in other areas, including her music.
Profile Image for Naori.
161 reviews
September 24, 2019
Vivek devotes so much of her poetry to the peeling away of the social, the physical, and the metaphysical so to lay before the reader her skin...all the rawness and trueness of her brown skin, and what that means to each of us and the world....I don’t feel ready to write a review of her words until I have the bravery to remove my layers and stand before her with at least a trembling pen and the offering of my skin to give back

While I think this is is one of the most courageous and intelligent works of poetry that I have read in a while, and I would encourage everyone to read it, I absolutely would like to sound out to the literary world that Vivek Shraya is donating half of the royalties from this book to the Native Youth Sexual Health Network (nyshn), “an organization by and for indigenous youth that works across issues of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice throughout the United States and Canada.”
Profile Image for Leah Horlick.
Author 4 books108 followers
May 1, 2016
This is the future of QTIPOC poetry, folks. The kind of book people are going to look back and credit as their formative text on race -- the kind of book you'll fall back on again and again. Keep it on your syllabus as an antidote to the legion of white male poets; keep it on your nightstand as protection against anybody who's ever tried to colonize or fetishize your body. So so so much love for Vivek and this visionary work.
Profile Image for Emmkay.
1,224 reviews89 followers
December 14, 2016
Multi-layered and thought-provoking collection of poetry that peels back and teases away at the complexities of race. Imaginative and mind-opening without being dully didactic. The pop culture pieces do pop, but may not have the staying power of the other pieces, some of which were breath-taking.
Profile Image for Lauren .
1,735 reviews2,339 followers
April 28, 2017

If I write about you is it appropriation
If I don't write about you is it erasure
If I include you is it tokenizing
If I don't include you is it invisibilizing

Shraya's words will move you: maybe to tears - maybe to smile - maybe to consider - maybe to anger. Impactful, important, and intersectional. A must read.
Profile Image for Barth Siemens.
358 reviews12 followers
February 4, 2017
The opening salvo is certainly evocative--more than I had prepared myself for. Several pieces are full on brilliant. Others quietly sneak into your consciousness. Some never revealed their point to me.

I'm glad to have read it.
Profile Image for Aleksandra.
1,460 reviews
July 2, 2020
so I made your skin the colour of my home the night sky
you were already stars

This is a collection of poems by Vivek Shraya, a trans woman of colour who lives in Canada, she’s a singer, performer, an educator, a poet and more. In this collection she talks about racism, whiteness and her experiences living through it and many more. Her poems vary from being straight to the point to flowing with metaphors.

I am sad I haven’t listened to an audiobook (it wasn’t available for me on scribd), I think I would’ve gained more out of it via audio. I will try to get hands on the audio book in the future.

I definitely recommend to read this collection. It’s a voice that needs to be heard and the book makes you think.

I am unsure on the rating so let’s leave it like that.
Profile Image for Jae.
435 reviews12 followers
December 29, 2016
I whispered "damn" under my breath a lot of times.
Profile Image for Greg Giannakis.
135 reviews14 followers
June 8, 2017
3.5 stars. While many parts of this were beautiful, there were quite a few that fell a bit flat. I also felt like a lot of this would've worked better as spoken word?
Profile Image for Ellen.
33 reviews1 follower
August 11, 2020
Ok so here’s the thing. I really really liked a lot of parts of this book. But many parts of the book I was kinda confused about the wording and the sentence structure and also the formatting (I also did read the ebook version so maybe the formatting was lost in this edition). Some parts seemed overdone abit but overall I thought it was really good and important.

I’m also really shocked because I checked the date and this was published in 2016 ——->

“i think it stems from people feeling like if they say something, they are admitting to being racist. or they are afraid someone will ask them about it, and they don’t know how to defend their point of view. people are afraid because if i were to say “black lives matter” and someone were to say “fuck you, all lives matter” and in my mind i’m like “oh yeah, i guess that’s true, all lives matter.” so now i’m in a place where i have no idea what to say to this person, because they are right, all lives do matter, but there is a clear imbalance and i don’t know how to say that, so i end up too scared to do or say anything at all”

This was a section from the book.
Profile Image for Siobhan Ward.
1,106 reviews8 followers
March 3, 2021

I haven't read a lot of poetry, so I can't critique this book from any sort of technical perspective, but I really enjoyed the poems in this book and how different they all were from each other.

I loved how Shraya's poems varied so much. The one based on a change.org petition trying to stop Kanye West from performing at the Pan Am Games really stuck with me. I don't think I've ever put much thought into Kanye before, but Shraya's execution was really thought-provoking. Definitely something that will stick with me for a while.

The one thing I'll point out for anyone who hasn't read it yet is that at the back, there is an index of poems with more context to some of them - I didn't find this until after I finished the book, so I wound up flipping back to re-read some of the poems with more context. Just a heads up that if you're not sure of some of the references, Shraya has included this, which helps to contextualize the poems a lot more.
Profile Image for BookishStitcher.
1,156 reviews44 followers
August 12, 2018
3.5 stars

This was good, and I could tell that Vivek Shraya felt really strongly about LBGTQ+ things and race. The poetry felt very personal more like the author was expressing their own journey than trying to produce some emotion in the reader. For me a 5 star poetry collection means that I felt extremely moved by several of the poems. That wasn't my experience with this particular collection.
Profile Image for Hannah.
Author 2 books97 followers
June 3, 2020
I just loved it. One of the best poetry collections I’ve ever read. Colour, race, gender, love, pain, humanity, expression, oppression and identity all beautifully unfurled in 80 pages? The ‘how to talk to a white person’ section was particularly moving. There were many hard truths there. Overall: gorgeous writing and a vastly unique and important voice.
Profile Image for rafaella.
95 reviews100 followers
January 4, 2021
3.5 my favourite quotes:
“remember when last you looked at something someone without attaching want but rather an irrepressible satisfaction in their existence?”

“darkness is my tale my truth and this truth of me is always here and so i’m always the bad about you outside of you.”
Profile Image for Mj.
518 reviews70 followers
June 29, 2023
In even this page is white, Vivek Shraya has written an in-your-face, strong, raw, moving and very intelligent collection of poems.

She writes about the feelings and emotions of people of colour, be they brown, black or other. This would include Indigenous people and effectively anyone who looks physically different from privileged white skinned people. even this page is white is filled with poetry and writing that describes the all too common racist experiences inflicted upon non-white people living among white people where white is the privileged and favoured skin colour. All the pain Shraya describes (and you will viscerally feel and experience the pain - her writing it that good) is simply because of this illegitimate preference of a dominant skin colour. The humanity we all share and the human to human sameness has been nullified with these overt acts of racism.

Shraya’s writing is very strong and on point. Her collection is full of poems and stories of truth, vulnerability and impactfulness. It is small in size but well worth reading at least once. Her gut-wrenching and visceral poetry will put you immediately into another’s shoes, emotions and experiences. I suspect that very few people will not be moved and feel real empathy. The poems are filled with first-hand real life experiences and supplemented by information, wisdom and knowledge. It is a total package filled with facts and feelings. even this page is white is well worth reading at least once and preferably more frequently.
Profile Image for arabella :).
41 reviews5 followers
October 30, 2020
Every thought about brownness felt like pieces of my inner monologue; poems I wish I could’ve read when I desperately needed them.
Profile Image for Maggie Gordon.
1,896 reviews139 followers
July 12, 2017
I am not having good luck with poetry today. Even This Page is White is an evocative title. It's a poetic title and it made me eager to dive into some intense poems about race. Unfortunately, while the ideas expressed were valuable and important, I struggled to really see most of this book as poetry. On one hand, anything can be poetry today, so it seems. On the other, there are rules for structure even in free verse that make poetry really sing. There are some really interesting beginnings of poems in Shraya's collection. I think with a stronger mentor and some editing, these will be exceptional poems. A lot of what's in here though is a bit too derivative. If you are active in online social justice communities, these are conversations and tumblr posts you see all the time without the added benefit of a poetic spin. Shraya plays with form, but never really explores the true extent of what language could do. The strongest part of this collection deals with Shraya's personal experience and those are entries worth a read. Alas! Another poetry book that didn't quite speak to me.
Profile Image for Magdelanye.
1,673 reviews211 followers
February 10, 2021
the page is always white because it is a void/ avoidance/until ink cometh to make it right
and blankness is destroyed/ and black words dance ....
from a letter to the author from George Elliott Clark
quoted on a page preceding the table of contents

This book is a raw response to the indignity that the world heaps on those who cannot be easily categorized or controlled. VS plays with words, with the spaces between words, and with the placement of words on a page. There are some prose pieces here that probe the margins and some that are part of an ongoing conversation.Every word is deeply considered. Even the intensely personal statements are political in this context.

Admittedly, I do feel resentful when white people do or say nothing at all....p63

Is acknowledgement enough? p17

Sometimes I forget that I know
how to sing. p27

In GRs limited 5 point system, I'm bumping it up to a 4, for its audacity, its courage and 4 or 5 damn good poems. 5/7
Displaying 1 - 30 of 306 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.