chapter  7
21 Pages

In the Name of Audre Lorde: The Location of Poetry in the United States

WithZofia Burr

In this chapter, the author takes up the poetic work of Audre Lorde and its reception since the 1970s as a particularly useful site for interrogating poetic discourse in the United States and its apparent incapacity to have an impact on the world into which it is taken. Although each of the responses attends to a significant aspect of Lorde's work and career, the author argues that there is a more complex and significant interaction between the two gestures of artistry and activism that is central to Lorde's practice and that can help illuminate our understanding of the political function of poetry in American society. Lorde's work helps to see that a political poetry is one that carries, that translates itself through its readers from the words on the page or from the poet's mouth into a provocation that relocates itself and is dispersed beyond a full reckoning in ongoing actions.