Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Black Unicorn: Poems” as Want to Read:
The Black Unicorn: Poems
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

The Black Unicorn: Poems

4.34 of 5 stars 4.34  ·  rating details  ·  411 ratings  ·  20 reviews
A collection of poems by Audre Lorde (1934-1992). Author of 10 volumes of poetry and five works of prose, Lorde was named New York State Poet in 1991 and was nominated for the 1993 National Book Critics Circle Award.
Paperback, 136 pages
Published August 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1978)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Black Unicorn, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Black Unicorn

The Complete Poems by Emily DickinsonLeaves of Grass by Walt WhitmanThe Waste Land and Other Poems by T.S. EliotShakespeare's Sonnets by William ShakespeareAriel by Sylvia Plath
Best Poetry Books
333rd out of 1,383 books — 1,529 voters
Fun Home by Alison BechdelAnd the Band Played On by Randy ShiltsThe Mayor of Castro Street by Randy ShiltsThe Men with the Pink Triangle by Heinz HegerOdd Girls and Twilight Lovers by Lillian Faderman
Best Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Non-Fiction
123rd out of 442 books — 186 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,104)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Samadrita
These poems are like shards of glass refracting the blurred image of some sombre new insight into the human condition - the agony of love, the pangs of coming to grips with the idea of racial segregation in a world one previously thought had no demarcations, the pervasive pessimism of living as reaffirmed by the morning newspaper, an elegy to the memories of a childhood friend whose time on earth ran out too soon, the melancholic ruminations of a prostitute, the absurdity of children of today be...more
Becca Becca
The poems in this book are absolutely beautiful. I recommend reading them at the same time that you read "Zami, a New Spelling of my Name." Audre Lorde has an amazing story to tell. Her poems have stayed with me for years.
Andrea Blythe
African folklore collides with the modern world in this provocative collection of poetry. Lorde explores darkness here, the beauty of black and the deep abyss of sorrow. A common style in these poems is to have one thought collide with the next, a line of text in the middle rubbing against both of the lines above and below it, so that it becomes torn between two different meanings.

Many of these poems are laced with anger and many lovingly paying homage to people either real and mythical. It's a...more
Oren Whightsel
again, an amazing book. the poem entitle "power" is my all time favorite.
Maie panaga
For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to...more
Camille
"i do not believe out wants have made all our lies holy." -audre lorde, between ourselves
Andrew
A really remarkable collection. In each poem, there are two or three moments of jolting surprise and immediate recognition, or identification, or agreement, or pleasure. Lorde's facility with language is incredible; there is a sinuousness to her word choice which constantly challenges and excites while still seeming to keep something in reserve. There is a marvelous tension between control and anger throughout, not like clenched teeth or balled fists, but like an inner iron resolve palpable at e...more
Annie
I got this book as a present from a friend, and I really enjoyed it. Her poems about loving women were very, very good (except for the times she would refer to them as mothers/sisters, I got a little weirded out I admit). Also, I'm afraid to say her poems about black kids getting shot are just as poignant and relevant now as they were when they were first published. This is not, nor has it ever been, a post-racial America.
Oleg Kagan
Lots of good imagery, powerful messages but the rhythm got repetitive very quickly. Maybe I feel that way because of the lack of punctuation and short lines, or because I've heard Audre Lorde read.
Toshi
“I will braid my hair
even
in the seasons of rain”

from "Dahomey"

What else is there to say. Lorde is powerful, potent, and mythic. Reclaim thyself sister.
Sara
i could re-read lorde's poetry a million times over and still beautiful new insights would reveal themselves to me... my fav in this collection is "recreation."
Cherie
A- I love Audre Lorde. This collection of poetry is really lovely; some fantastic lines, great stories within these poems. Recommended for all Lorde fans.
Jessica Elizabeth
this Collection contains my favorite poem of all time. Last line... "to find you tethered like a goat in my hearts yard." Find it ;)
Suejin
"Studied" this in my college years and am reading it now from a closer, more experienced perspective.
Camilla Lyons
I have to say this is one of my favourite books. Every time I pick it up.. It takes me to a place
Angela
Sep 01, 2013 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: own
Lorde's words are brilliant and vibrant arrows in the heart of meaning.
Annie
Lorde's major work, self-contained, searing; an incredible book.
Nafee
She clearly wrote these poems for me.... she knew I'd be born.
David Slay
A litany for Survival
Tiffany Kirkpatrick
Tiffany Kirkpatrick is currently reading it
Oct 21, 2014
Amanda
Amanda marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2014
Majdouline
Majdouline marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2014
Sd
Sd marked it as to-read
Oct 20, 2014
Tiffany Huang
Tiffany Huang marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Camilla
Camilla marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Deirdre
Deirdre marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Aishah
Aishah marked it as to-read
Oct 19, 2014
Disha
Disha marked it as to-read
Oct 16, 2014
Annie Duke
Annie Duke marked it as to-read
Oct 15, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 36 37 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
500 Great Books B...: The Black Unicorn: Poems - Audre Lorde - Samadrita 1 2 Jul 31, 2014 01:49PM  
Poetry 1 3 Feb 02, 2012 08:01AM  
  • Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems
  • A Wild Patience Has Taken Me This Far
  • Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems
  • She Had Some Horses
  • Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000
  • Consensual Genocide
  • Making Face, Making Soul/Haciendo Caras: Creative and Critical Perspectives by Feminists of Color
  • Born Palestinian, Born Black
  • The Angela Y. Davis Reader
  • Black Sexual Politics: African Americans, Gender, and the New Racism (PB)
  • The Moon Is Always Female: Poems
  • Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe
  • The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities
  • American Dreams
  • Loving in the War Years
  • Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems 1965-1990 Complete
  • Medicine Stories: History, Culture and the Politics of Integrity
  • Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde
18486
Lorde's poetry was published very regularly during the 1960s — in Langston Hughes' 1962 New Negro Poets, USA; in several foreign anthologies; and in black literary magazines. During this time, she was politically active in civil rights, anti-war, and feminist movements. Her first volume of poetry, The First Cities (1968), was published by the Poet's Press and edited by Diane di Prima, a former cla...more
More about Audre Lorde...
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches The Collected Poems The Cancer Journals Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power

Share This Book

“and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive”
202 likes
“A Litany for Survival

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
for those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the hours between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
futures
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
remembering
we were never meant to survive.”
116 likes
More quotes…