Poems are Not a Luxury: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich
208 West 13th Street, #210
New York, NY 10011
“Poetry is liberative language,” wrote Adrienne Rich. “Poems are not a luxury,” argued Audre Lorde. How can we understand these claims about the intersection of poetry and politics? This course delves into the lives and works of Rich and Lorde, as we explore their respective poetic oeuvres. To Rich and Lorde, liberation was a through-line of experience between eros, politics, and language. And both express in their works understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body. In a famous interview between the two writers, they discuss poetry as the language of the dark, the feminine, the unconscious; we will explore this tendency in their work and the ways in which their respective renderings of the feminine influenced the trajectory of feminist theory and politics in the mid and late-20th century. Their conversations with one another, and treatments of their legacies by Claudia Rankine, Lisa L. Moore, Marilyn Hacker and others, will inform our investigation of poetry as part of feminist theory. How do Rich and Lorde navigate antiracism and intersectionality among allies with different race and class affiliations? How does poetic form contribute to their political practice? Readings will include Diving Into The Wreck, The Fact of a Doorframe, Uses of the Erotic, Sister Outsider, and the Art of the Possible, among others.
Course ScheduleTuesday, 6:30-9:30pm
January 28 — February 18, 2020