Audre Lorde as a Lesbian Poet

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The Works of Audre Lorde from a Homosexual Viewpoint “But I who am bound by my mirror As well as my bed See causes in colour As well as sex Sit here wondering Which me will survive All these liberations.” - Audre Lorde, “Who Said It Was Simple”. Audre Lorde, as she herself proclaimed, had diverse identities: “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet”. In this short paper, we seek to examine her lesbian identity with respect to her poems. At other times, I would have felt hesitant to use the phrase “a lesbian poet” for only one reason: its sheer stupidity. (As Liz Feldman very famously said: “It’s very dear to me, the issue of gay marriage, or as I like to call it: ‘marriage’. You know, because I had lunch this afternoon, not gay lunch. I parked my car; I didn’t gay park it.”) But in this case, the string of words “lesbian poet” does make sense for once. It’s because of two reasons: 1. it’s clear from various speeches and interviews that Lorde primarily identified as a poet. In her famous speech “Poetry is Not a Luxury”, she makes it very clear that being a poet is what supercedes her being a woman or a “black”. She says that for women, poetry influences the quality of lives lived and the way in which women seek to change the lives of those around them is also forged by poetry. Rabindranath Tagore, once, looking at a man carrying water in a pail and watching how some water fell over the brim as the man walked, remarked that Art is like that: if people are containers and life is likened to the water inside, then art is formed by the excesses that fall over. I have long made a mental note contesting this point. And Audre Lorde sure seems to be agreeing with this. For her, poetry is as much of a necessity for survival as is light. She says “This is poetry as illumination, for it is through poetry that we give name to those ideas which are, until the poem,

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