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Audre Lorde - Writers - Literature - Read! / Listen!

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Audre Lorde (USA. 1934-1992)

Audre Lorde

"My silences have not protected me. Your silence will not protect you."
From "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action" and article included in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984.

"Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought"
"We can train ourselves to respect our feelings and to transpose them into a language so they can be shared"

From "Poetry Is Not a Luxury" in Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984. 36-39.

More by Audre Lorde on Poetry and Activism external link


bullet Voices from the Gaps: Audre Lorde external link
bullet Modern American Poetry: Audre Lorde external link (selection of quotes by topics)
bullet A movie about Audre Lorde external link

A Litany for Survival - Listen here.
by Audre Lorde (from The Black Unicorn)

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak
we are afraid our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive

The Mujer Palabra webpage for Audre Lorde external link (same content as at Pod)