not a luxury

I speak here of poetry as a revelatory distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean—in order to cover a desperate wish for imagination without insight.

For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.

—Audre Lorde, “Poetry Is Not A Luxury,” Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics (U. of Arkansas Press, 2005), edited by Deborah Brown, Annie Finch and Maxim Kumin

1 comment:

jbprince said...

I'd have to disagree with Audre Lorde's view about male poets and female poets. Plenty of women as well as men write and have written poems that seem to be without insight, just as they seem to have needed to write poems for themselves, for others, and for many other reasons. I should think it impossible [tho delicious] to know, truly, what are other people's reasons for writing poetry.