Audre Lorde Analysis

Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

By what techniques does Audre Lorde convert outrage to poetry?

What is the symbolic force of boundaries in “Walking Our Boundaries”?

How does the imagery of “Coal” express Lorde’s “dark place”?

Consider The Cancer Journals as a response to the insensitivity and tactlessness that Lorde encountered among medical professionals.

What array of personal traits and experiences combined to facilitate Lorde’s uniqueness as a poet?

Other literary forms

(Poets and Poetry in America)

The Cancer Journals (1980) is a personal account of the struggles of Audre Lorde (lohrd) with breast cancer. Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, a Biomythography (1982), is a retrospective narrative of her emerging sexuality. Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984) and A Burst of Light: Essays (1988) are collections of essays and speeches on poetry, feminism, lesbianism, and racism.


(Poets and Poetry in America)

Audre Lorde received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and was a poet in residence at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1968. She also won the Creative Artists Public Service grant (1972 and 1976) and the Broadside Poets Award (1975). In 1975, she was named Woman of the Year by Staten Island Community College. She received the Borough of Manhattan President’s Award for literary excellence (1987), the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation for A Burst of Light (1989), a Walt Whitman Citation of Merit, the Bill Whitehead Award from the Publishing Triangle (1992), and two Lambda Literary Awards for Lesbian Poetry: in 1993 for Undersong and in 1994 for The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance. She was named poet laureate of New York in 1991.


(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Avi-Ram, Amitai F. “Apo Koinou in Lorde and the Moderns: Defining the Differences.” Callaloo 9 (Winter, 1986): 193-208. Apo koinou comes from a Greek phrase meaning “in common.” This original and ambitious essay discusses the uses of eroticism and the importance of a political consciousness in Lorde’s work.

Bloom, Harold, ed. Black American Women Poets and Dramatists. New York: Chelsea House, 1996.

Brooks, Jerome. “In the Name of the Father: The Poetry of Audre Lorde.” In Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation, edited by Mari Evans. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1984. This brief chapter deals with a topic to which Lorde gives little direct attention in her own essays—the death of her father. It is a useful analysis of a focused topic that clarifies the meaning of some of the poems in which the figure of the father appears.

De Veaux, Alexis. Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde. New York: W.W. Norton, 2004. Lorde’s childhood in Harlem, literary career, and her battle with breast cancer are detailed in this first biography of the renowned poet.

Dilworth, Thomas. “Lorde’s ‘Power.’” The Explicator 57, no. 1 (Fall, 1998): 54-57. Examines the complex imagery in Audre Lorde’s poem “Power,” found in her...

(The entire section is 582 words.)