Oh, Audre Lorde

August 30, 2010

Of all the essays we were assigned to read, Audre Lorde’s is the one that has hit closest to home for me.  Her essay functions as a sort of call to arms for women, a reminder that for us poetry has been and always will be a part of our history, hidden and kept safe in the dark places within.  To all those who would say that poetry is merely a form of entertainment, a luxury, a mess of wordplay and funny rhymes, Audre Lorde stands as a firm reminder that “it is vital to our existence” and to deny that would be to deny womanhood in a sense.

Poetry helps us to give shape to our grief.  It allows us to express images, sounds, and dreams in a way that may not make sense, but must be spoken of (or written about) and at least we must try. Audre Lorde says that there are no new ideas, no new pains; we have already heard and felt them all.  But we continue to write about these things because if nothing else female poets are in constant dialogue with each other specifically. We are reminding one another of where we’ve been and where we are going. Who we are and what we are becoming. Our poems are expressions of empathy and love for one another. It is our process of remembering and passing down our collective and personal histories.

I think she is right. Maybe there are no new ideas, no new joys or sorrows or pains. And is that a bad thing? Maybe the poets who try to focus all their creative energies into creating something the public has never seen or heard of before have got it all wrong, and to get caught up in that defeats the purpose of poetry.  I don’t know. All I know is that Audre Lorde is awesome and her essay was a very uplifting and beautiful end to my night.

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