Audre Lorde: Poetry

Sex and the Community in the Writings of Lourde, Shange, and Diaz College

The works of Audre Lorde, Ntozake Shange, and Junot Diaz have featured communities that are formed around a shared sexual identity: one that is either chosen to be empowering or one that is forced upon the community members. In some cases, these sexually-defined communities are able to deepen the emotional connection between their members. In others, it limits or completely cuts off this connection.

Audre Lorde writes about the power that eroticism has to restore the common history and heritage of women of color in her essay “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power.” In it, she discusses the origin of the word “erotic” and defines it as such: “an assertion of the lifeforce of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives” (Lorde 55). The erotic encompasses every aspect of life, from pure sexuality to the idea of being intellectually aroused by and passionate about one’s work. It allows women of color to reclaim the pride they have in every aspect of their lives. They can hold onto their shared language of womanhood and feel strengthened by it. Women unify by embracing the erotic power and using it to...

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