At this extraordinary time, we need strong women to help us imagine a better world, one filled with love, not hate. Audre Lorde, a self-described Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet, wrote that the erotic is a resource of feeling within us. This is the opposite of the pornographic, which denies women their own power. Sensation alone is not enough; instead, Lorde's emphasis is on learning to value the feeling of satisfaction instead of denying ourselves that right: "Once we know the extent to which we are capable of feeling that sense of satisfaction and completion, we can then observe which of our various life endeavors bring us closest to that fullness."
For Lorde and poets like her, poetry taps into the forces within us, giving "name to the nameless." It helps us say "yes" to our deepest cravings and reimagine what is possible.
Our reproductive rights, the right to have control over our own bodies, our freedom to love who we love, and, sadly, so much more--even the right to lay sleeping safely in our homes while Black--are not only threatened but also forcibly taken away from us daily. We have much to learn from women poets. Lorde knew that women desiring and nurturing other women, across differences, is redemptive and where real power may be discovered.
We often look to Audre Lorde in times of crisis--times like ours, today--for her strength, truth, and activism. Lorde brings out the beauty and creative power of difference in her essays, inviting us all in--with a warm embrace--to participate in movements for change. But what kind of enfolding, cradling, and clutching does she offer to the lovers in her poems? In this Olio, we will dive deeper into Lorde's essay on "The Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power" and together we will read a few of Lorde's poems, including "Pirouette," "And Don't Think I Won't Be Waiting," and "Love Poem."
Teacher: Christina Katopodis
Christina Katopodis is a doctoral candidate in English and Futures Initiative Fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY, and an adjunct instructor at Hunter College. She is a scholar of environmental studies, sound studies, and American literature.
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Nov. 5, 20208 p.m.
Nov. 5, 2020
Think Olio | Your Hands in My Doorway like Rainbows: Audre Lorde's Love Poems
We often look to Audre Lorde in times of crisis- for her strength, truth, and activism. Lorde brings out the beauty and creative power of difference in her essays, inviting us all in--with a warm embrace--to participate in movements for change. But what kind of enfolding, cradling, and clutching does she offer to the lovers in her poems?