Art of Adoption-Playwrights and Poets

There’s a growing movement in the art world of compelling plays, poetry, painting and more by adopted persons. It’s well worth paying attention to, because of its visceral power, its humor and sorrow, its tender subtlety and its blunt hard-edged honesty. I’ve had the privilege to get to know some amazing adoptee artists: performers, poets, playwrights, and more, who are creating a wide range of art based on their experiences of adoption. Some address adoption directly; for others, it’s an influence, unescapable, sometimes companionable.

Here are a few artists well worth following. I’ll be featuring more in the near future, and would welcome additions and suggestions.


I saw Sun-mee Chomet and Katie Hae Leo in their amazing plays, The Origin(s) Project. Both are Korean adoptees. Each is a powerful writer and performer.

Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girl’s Story of being adopted by a White Family… that aren’t Celebrities.  Lisa Marie Rollins is the writer/performer of the play, as well the founder of Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora.

Marissa Lichwick wrote and performed in Yellow Dress: A Solo Show, based on her journey as a 7-year-old Korean adoptee through adulthood.

Poets/Spoken Word Artists:

Michele Leavitt, US adoptee, author of the chapbook The Glass Transition.

Lee Herrick, Korean adoptee, writer of The Many Miles From Desire, and Gardening Secrets of the Dead.

Lemn Sissay, British-Ethiopian adoptee (and only person in the world named Lemn Sissay) Poet, playwright, author of Rebel Without Applause, and Morning Breaks in the Elevator.

Alaska-based Christy NaMee Eriksen, poet, organizer, educator, Korean adoptee. Be sure to click on her Friends for wonderful additional resources.

1 thought on “Art of Adoption-Playwrights and Poets

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