The Selected Works of Audre Lorde

Edited by Roxane Gay. Norton, $16.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-324-00461-5
This well-chosen selection of work by feminist author Lorde (1934–1992) features incisive prose pieces and poems from nine collections published between 1968 and 1993. In the fiery 1979 polemic “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” Lorde, as one of the few African-Americans at the Second Sex Conference commemorating Simone de Beauvoir’s classic text, criticizes the majority-white organizers for their disinterest in more diverse voices: “What does it mean when the tools of a racist patriarchy are used to examine the fruits of that same patriarchy? It means that only the most narrow perimeters of change are possible and allowable.” The prose portion also features selections from Lorde’s intense and deeply affecting journals written over the years she battled cancer. The sublime choices of Lorde’s poetry include the haunting “Martha,” written during a former lover’s recuperation after a car accident, and “Father Son and Holy Ghost,” which beautifully records a childhood memory of her father returning from work, “Misty from the worlds business/ Massive and silent as the whole day’s wish.” Readers new to Lorde’s work couldn’t ask for a better introduction, and those already familiar will find this an ideal collection of her greatest hits. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 04/17/2020
Release date: 09/08/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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