Poetry Is Not a Luxury

Date: 2016-07-24 08:03 pm (UTC)
jjhunter: Drawing of human J.J. in red and brown inks with steampunk goggle glasses (red J.J. inked)
From: [personal profile] jjhunter
I stumbled across Jeremy Liu's essay Poetry Is Not a Luxury to Achieving Racial, Social, and Economic Equity a few weeks ago, and have been thinking about it and the referenced Audre Lorde essay ever since.
In her essay, Poetry Is Not a Luxury, Audre Lorde, the Caribbean-American writer, poet, radical feminist, lesbian, and civil rights activist, describes an often overlooked yet necessary process in community and equitable development:

Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so that it can be thought. The farthest external horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock of experiences of our daily lives.

As they become known and accepted to ourselves, our feelings, and the honest exploration of them, become sanctuaries and fortresses and spawning grounds for the most radical and daring of ideas, the house of difference so necessary to change and the conceptualization of any meaningful action.


In defining poetry as vital to the human condition, Lorde reminds us that poetry is a step in the formation of ideas, rather than simply the expression of an already formed idea or feeling. Hopes and dreams are transformed into language, becoming coherent knowledge which can then catalyze action.

Would you agree? Disagree? Does this match your own experience with poetry, and/or what you look for in poetry?
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