Poetry is not a Luxury


Poetry is not a Luxury

In the essay “Poetry is Not a Luxury”, Lorde argues that poetry, perhaps, can be luxurious for the privileged but not for the oppressed. Can you explain how poetry, according to Lorde, is a way to enact self-transformation for the oppressive population which can potentially stage other black liberatory practices? Challenging linear notions of power, knowledge and European enlightenment, Lorde draws a contrast between Renee Descartes famous philosophical axiom “I think therefore I am”, with the black consciousness where “black mothers in each of us-the-poet-whispers in our dream, I feel therefore I can be free” (1). Can you explain how Lorde’s notion of poetry and feelings of poetic inspiration can be a powerful and political catalyst for change?

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Discussion question for “Naturally”:

So far, after reading two of Lorde’s essays you realize that her works were composed in an era of politically motivated and cultural black aesthetics. In the poem, “Naturally”, Lorde is presenting her pride for black beauty and aesthetics. The poet-speaker celebrates black hair in an attempt to reclaim the black female identity. Can you critically analyze the poem “Naturally” and read it along with Beyonce’s “Brown Skin Girl” and write on their commitment towards empowering black womanhood?