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Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984)

by Audre Lorde

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,879226,813 (4.35)53
Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.… (more)
  1. 10
    "I Teach Myself in Outline," Notes, Journals, Syllabi and an Excerpt from Deotha by Audre Lorde (jillianhistorian)
    jillianhistorian: This is an edited collection of Audre Lorde's teaching materials, drawn from materials in Lorde's papers in the Spelman College Archives.
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» See also 53 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Probably more of a 3.5 but I am rounding up.

This was an interesting collection of essays, and I liked getting to know a historical perspective of feminism from a Black lesbian woman. The audiobook is narrated well too and I would definitely recommend the format. It might not feel as inclusive as we would like it to be, but it wasn't really a deal breaker for me. ( )
  ksahitya1987 | Aug 20, 2021 |
The only reason this is not a 5 star rating, is that the narrator of the audio book sounded robotic and inauthentic. ( )
  Bodagirl | Jul 13, 2021 |
Sister Outsider is a steamroller. The book-ending pieces about Russia and Grenada felt a bit out of place, but the bulk of her writing here is fabulous and every bit as relevant today as it was 40 years ago. I only wish I went into this reading a hard copy so I could underline (Kindle will never be good for that). I wish she was still with us today. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
This is a collection of essays that has to be one of my favorites on the list. That’s probably because it includes the essay “Poetry is Not a Luxury,” listed below, and one of my very favorite pieces of writing of all time. That being said, the work in its entirety is nothing short of brilliant mastery of lyrical prose and thoughtful analysis of sexism, homophobia, racism, ageism and classism.
Review from: The Write of Your Life. Books on race relations in America.
  stlukeschurch | Mar 7, 2021 |
Even before I had come before this book, I knew I would be reading a kind of bible. I say this because through glimpses of her words from 'Sister Outsider' and several essays I had read before, there was a certain blunt holiness, a certain transcendental knowing. When I read 'Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic As Power' a kind of deep knowing flooded me. I felt like I was finally able to access the very power she spoke of within us simply because she had turned my attention to it. What a person, to be able to see what so many of us can't! When a poet speaks feminist praxis, something magical happens. And I am aware of course that her knowing cannot be divorced from her identity as a black lesbian woman, an identity that does not give her the privilege of being ignorant of so much of the pain the society she lived in would heap at her. The fact that she would point out the lack of acknowledgement repeatedly (to Mary Daly, to a conference full of white women..) seems to me acts of immense courage. It must have been incredibly challenging at the time, and at no point does she 'toughen' herself to be able to withstand the difficulty of her praxis. She is guided, so obviously, by a love for her community & ultimately for all. She wants a frank discussion & acknowledgement of our difference, which to so many appears like a divisive thing.

The language of our activism is often empirical, social language. Of course this isn't bad, but when I read this book of essays, I realised how utterly visceral, powerful, human, one could be if we to speak about our (political) pain with both some kind of primordial vulnerability and with eruditeness. I utterly value her call to collapse the binaries that tell us that to speak our deepest pain with emotion is to be called weak, or less 'rational'. I had actually initially thought that Sister Outsider was a book of theory, then I thought it was a kind of poetics. But why can't these categories collapse? Why can't our praxis be poetic? Maybe I am being sentimental, but I felt like only a poet like Audre Lorde, so unabashedly vulnerable & unabashedly courageous, could have understood so presciently and deeply for example, the reason why women can turn against each other. Only that kind of knowing could relay to us that deep insecurity & pain within us, and in the same essay suggest to us an antidote.

I am so thankful for her presence & her contributions. She has a spellbinding power that seems so rare. I will go back to her words repeatedly, I know. ( )
  verkur | Jan 8, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lorde, Audreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Clarke, CherylForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schel, TillyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Since I've returned from Russia a few weeks ago, I've been dreaming a lot.
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...poetry is not a luxury...
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature. In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde's philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.

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A collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde.
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