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Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  10,762 Ratings  ·  504 Reviews
A collection of fifteen essays written between 1976 and 1984 gives clear voice to Audre Lorde's literary and philosophical personae. These essays explore and illuminate the roots of Lorde's intellectual development and her deep-seated and longstanding concerns about ways of increasing empowerment among minority women writers and the absolute necessity to explicate the conc ...more
Paperback, 190 pages
Published June 1st 1984 by Crossing Press
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If you care about feminism, social justice, or making the world a better place in any way at all, you must read this book. Sister Outsider shook me to my core. Audre Lorde's brilliant, powerful, love-filled writing literally brought me to tears in a local Panera Bread. In this stunning collection of essays and speeches, she addresses the sheer necessity of intersectional feminism and supporting women of color, the importance of using our voices to speak up against injustice, the horrors inflicte ...more
There is something spellbinding about reading this book, as though one had stepped into a room where someone was speaking, quietly and clearly, and a crowd of people were listening intently, feeling together in mutual awareness and sympathy. It must be because I know so many women have read this book and felt their hearts answer Lorde. It must be because she is a poet and creates with words that space within us, that bridge where separate senses of being can cross and touch.

Perhaps the spell of
Tim Haslett
Feb 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Toni
Now wait, you've not read this book? Really? Maybe you're just kidding. "I have come to work on you like a drug or a chisel" wrote the late Audre Lorde. Her passing created a hollow space in my soul that is now filled again each time I read her prose & poetry.

Just because 'Sister Outsider' is assigned in virtually every women's studies and gender studies 101 class does not mean it is some awful book about soggy, liberal bureaucratic multiculturalism. Far from it.

Audre Lorde lived for a rad
Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes, as is fury when the actions arising from those attitudes do not change. To those women here who fear the anger of women of Color more than their own unscrutinized racist attitudes, I ask: Is the anger of women of Color more threatening than the woman-hatred that tinges all aspects of our lives?
My latest favorite type of Tumblr blog is a variation on the theme of 'thisisnot_____', wherein a slew of responses to angry white tears let me know
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read it and weep.
Read it and be moved to action.
Read it. Just because.

Audre Lorde will change your life.
Mar 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: you will probably think this book sucks
the bible just not doing it for ya? feel disappointed by the christian science monitor? maybe not getting the guidance you need from the koran or buddha... this shit is a new religion- all the spiritual guidance you'll ever need. well. it's fucking good and smart and amazing and no good feminist worth their (gender unspecific) salt would go without referencing lorde.

the uses of the erotic, some notes and master's tools are absolute requirements if you don't wanna do the whole thing. oh. and, um
Oh, this book. Such a brilliant collection of essays, I won't even try to write a proper review. I'll just leave a quote from the essay The Uses of Anger: Women Responding to Racism. This quote sums up what feminism is all about for me.
I am a lesbian woman of Color whose children eat regularly because I work in a university. If their full bellies make me fail to recognize my commonality with a woman of Color whose children do not eat because she cannot find work, or who has no children because
This is quite possibly the most important book I've read all year.
You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other and to work toward that future with the particular strengths of our individual identities. And in order to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.
p142, "Learning from the 60s"

I read this right on the tail of reading Zami: A New
Viv JM
Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was a black lesbian feminist poet and “Sister Outsider” is a collection of her essays and speeches dating from 1976 to 1984. These are largely on themes of sexism, racism and homophobia and Lorde is not afraid to express her anger. Reading these essays 40 years later feels a little bit depressing as although a lot has changed there is so much more that hasn’t.

I did find this at times an uncomfortable read, and I think that is wholly a good thing. It feels like a really i
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Sister Outsider was originally compiled in 1984 from poet Audre Lorde's speeches and essays. I listened to the audiobook produced in 2016, and narrated by Robin Eller. Let's get my critique of the audio out of the way - it was deplorable. Lorde's passionate and insightful words are ruined by narration that's closer to automaton than human. Buy the print version, as I will be doing soon.

That frustration aside, this book is a powerful work. Lorde's experiences as a black, feminist, lesbian mother
 Imani ♥ ☮
I wavered back and forth for a good minute, trying to figure out if I would give this a four star rating or a five star rating. I resolved for five, just because I liked some of the essays more than others. All of them were stunning, but I especially liked Eye to Eye and her account on Moscow, Grenada and raising a black son as a black lesbian.

Audre Lorde has been like a haunt to me in some ways. A name I never felt I could pronounce properly. A name I heard but never read. A book written by a
Xian Xian
1. A collection of essays and speeches by Audre Lorde. A lot of people have read this since she is definitely one of the most important and influential women in history. Which is why my words on it aren't really that important because it's no different than anyone else's.

2. I don't read a lot of non-fiction but this was written in a way where I could easily digest it without clawing my eyes out. It is written in her lovely voice by her lovely fingers.

3. She is delicate and strong, knowing that s
Jun 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: feminism
Zbiór przemówień i listów Lorde czytałam w drodze do USA, przez co cały mój pobyt tam przesiąknięty był myślami o czarnym feminizmie i kobietach ogólnie. Jak ważne tematy poruszyła autorka, a był to zaledwie czubek góry lodowej.
Poczułam się pouczona jak za czasów nieprzygotowania do lekcji. Poczułam, jak niewiele jeszcze wiem i choć nie jest to książka napisana w ostatnich latach i naiwnie wierzyć można w lepsza sytuacje na co dzień to jednak świadomość i waga tych problem czasem paraliżuje. Par
Milanti severe direbbero: femminismo intersezionale transnazionale. Nulla da eccepire, tutto giusto, in teoria e dietrologia forbite. Ma Audre si legge col cuore, non con postulati e glossari.

Poeta, nera, donna, femminista, lesbica, guerriera in un’America razzista, sessista, omofoba, coloniale. Nulla è taciuto. Nemmeno la paura e la strabordante rabbia. Nemmeno il cancro.
Uno scavo alle fondamenta di un io combattente. Perché è nel sé che si annidia la morte. Fisica, simbolica. Quella che o di
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What beautiful prose and so relevant. I've heard Audre Lorde quotes batted around all over the place and it was wonderful to read them in context. Unlike Lorde, I prefer prose to poetry (at least at this point in my life) so I really appreciated a poet talking about politics and life. Her essay on absorbing the hatred of racism as a child was really moving and one that I will return to.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lgbtia
This should be required reading for *everyone.*
Definitely the best book I've read this year, and it will be hard to surpass. This collection of essays was like a religious experience. Lorde writes about so many issues that are still sadly relevant many years later, and explores both areas of experience that were intimately familiar to me as they would be to many women and that were so starkly different that they gave me pause that will recur over the long-term as I contemplate what life is like for Black women and queer women. And I had to r ...more
Ericka Clouther
Lorde’s unique way of thinking and communicating is on display in these essays about race and feminism. This is especially true in the lengthy interview in the middle of the book. I might have done better to start with her poetry though.
Rachel Ninnette
Feb 21, 2012 rated it liked it
I'd give five stars, if only for the essays "Poetry is not a luxury", "The transformation of silence into language and action", and "Uses of the erotic", but in this book Lorde seems to do more to pit black and white, LGBTQ and heterosexual people against each other than work with similarities.
Underlining difference is vital when they are those between an oppressor and the oppressed, because this can yield understanding with regard to the cause and possible solutions to these inequalities. But t
Dec 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"What are the words you do not yet have?"

I came back to this beautiful sentence over and over and over again, because it is the core of Audre Lorde's work. What are the words you dare not speak? What is inhibiting your liberation, or your ability to collaborate and commune with others for the sake of your liberation? What are the words you do not yet have?

As with any collection of essays, some of these are a real snoozefest, while others should be reread immediately upon completion, both for th
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
LOVED LOVED LOVED. Reading this book felt like homecoming. A philosophy professor introduced me to Lorde in two and a half years ago. I bought this book back in March but avoided reading it, expecting it to be difficult to read because everyone has said such great things about Audre Lorde. This wasn't a hard read at all and the book was more revelatory than I expected it to be.

The sequence/progression of texts within the book was really key to helping me understand Lorde's messaging about diffe
Deonna Anderson
Audre Lorde really spoke to me in this book. I felt like all the issues people of color and queer folks were dealing with during the time that she wrote these essays and speeches are still relevant today, which is unfortunate and telling of the progress we have made. Every essay and speech was honest and put forth some ideas and concepts for me to ponder on and maybe incorporate into my life and personal politics.

This book was given to me by an advisor in college and I wish I would have read it
Emily Mac Rae
Mar 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This book was amazing. At times I look at the world and it's inequities and it makes me feel as if I am losing my mind. How can you look at the hurt and pain caused by the imbalance of power, the squandering of vital resources, pride exercised by the complete put down of whole groups of people and not want to scream. At the very least do some one thing to help the starving person next to you. I sometimes feel that I live in a world where many suffer but many more walk around as if they were anes ...more
Patience Blythe
Jun 30, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone
I first heard about Audre Lorde when I was in high school debate, and was first introduced to concepts of feminism, racism, and the interplay of powerful social forces. When I was younger, I really didn't understand her fundamental theory that you can't use the master's tools to dismantle the master's house. I understood what she was saying, but didn't really believe her, that is, until I became a teacher. Rereading this book now after so many years and a new take on life makes it ring truer to ...more
Nate D
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015, essays, 80s
As essential now as ever. Especially now, at the ned of this first half of 2015. Lorde's essays peer into the chasms in which differences between all people lie, probing into how people relate to one another, in best and worst cases, particularly across lines of gender, race, and sexuality. She was first a poet, of course, and her prose has this quality of clarity and distillation that her subjects demand.
Curtis Ackie
Mar 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I honestly don’t recall reading a book that touched me as deeply as this one has, at least not since I read Malcolm X’s autobiography as a teenager. As I progressed through this essential fountain of knowledge, I could quite literally feel myself being changed. Also, learning that Lorde’s mother was from Carriacou, the same tiny island as my father’s family, added extra excitement to this experience.
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I felt the audio narration by Robin Eller was a little robotic, but it didn't diminish how powerful the words were.
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Omni by: lev
I have so many favorite quotes from this collection. Audre Lorde's words are so powerful, I cannot imagine I have never read anything of hers before now.

"You fear your children will grow up to join the patriarchy and testify against you, we fear our children will be dragged from a car and shot down in the street and you will turn your backs on the reason they are dying."
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book changed my entire understanding of what it means to be a black feminist. I needed this book.
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Girls Against Boo...: April- Sister Outsider 1 2 Apr 09, 2018 07:01AM  
500 Great Books B...: Sister Outsider - Audre Lorde 3 33 Feb 20, 2015 11:25AM  
Anonymous Wisdom: So far, what do you think? 1 3 Dec 10, 2014 03:25PM  
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Audre Lorde is a revolutionary Black feminist. 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 P ...more
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“Your silence will not protect you.” 2482 likes
“Guilt is not a response to anger; it is a response to one’s own actions or lack of action. If it leads to change then it can be useful, since it is then no longer guilt but the beginning of knowledge. Yet all too often, guilt is just another name for impotence, for defensiveness destructive of communication; it becomes a device to protect ignorance and the continuation of things the way they are, the ultimate protection for changelessness.” 327 likes
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