Tuesday, August 09, 2016

We Need All the Letters

Why did it bother me when I was reading an essay by Ursula Le Guin in her book, The Wave of the Mind, and she quoted Audre Lorde, but she spelled Lorde's name without the final "e". Twice.

Yes, I know that is minor. But Lorde was such a powerful black woman who loved language and the strength of words. She introduced herself as a, "black, lesbian,mother, warrior, poet".  She spoke and wrote as a professor, as a black woman, as a lesbian, as a feminist. She reminded us that it wasn't that we needed more power, it was that we didn't use the power we had.

She held up mirrors. Asked us to confront our own bias, our own deep seated prejudices. She was radical, blatant, fierce, and honest. She didn't bend when people were uncomfortable with her views. Audre Lorde's "I" couldn't be bullied or shouted down. Her strength was palpable. Her poetry, essays, and conversations all honed in on confronting injustice head on.

Her poem "Power" was written after the acquittal of a police officer accused of killing an unarmed ten year old boy. That poem was written in the late '70s.

It is time for me to re-read her poetry. The missing "e" stands for her insistence on equality.


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