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Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Essays and Poems

4.66  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  61 reviews
From The Guardian. Oct. 4, 2017. R.O. Kwon

"Lorde seems prophetic, perhaps alive right now, writing in and about the US of 2017 in which a misogynist with white supremacist followers is president. But she was born in 1934, published her first book of poetry in 1968, and died in 1992. Black, lesbian and feminist; the child of immigrant parents; poet and essayist, writer and
Paperback, 229 pages
Published October 2nd 2017 by Silver Press
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Jan 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: black-writers
Instead of talking about the things I liked and disliked about Lorde’s essays and poetry, I thought it would be much more valuable and useful to share five things that Lorde has taught me.

I - Your Silence Will Not Protect You!
Lorde’s approach to activism and transforming one’s silence into language and action deeply impressed me. Speaking out and speaking up are common themes when it comes to feminism and activism, however, Lorde’s take on the matter is unique, since she doesn’t base her argumen
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-10-of-2018
I know I will return to this over and over. My copy is littered with colourful tabs. I could quote pretty much the whole book. This is powerful, essential reading.

It makes me so angry and heartbroken that Lorde's writing (all of it - poetry and prose) is still so relevant and necessary in 2018. By this measure, it feels like we really haven't progressed much at all since the 70s and 80s when she published these pieces.
"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very d
May 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This felt incredibly healing, inspiring and powerful. A book to which I will go back several times. A borrowed home.
Jun 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i can’t wait to read extensive feminist essays and texts to my future children when they are babies and have no choice but to listen to me
Oct 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There’s no one like Audre Lorde, living or dead. I read so much in the six years of my PhD program but there’s no doubt in my mind that her essays have had the most transformative & lasting influence on my life—my writing, my teaching, my sense of self, my relationships with others. I return to her again and again. Yesterday I finished an Alice Walker collection and in one of the essays Walker asks the reader to ask themselves, “What is my practice? What is steering this boat that is my fragile ...more
Antonia Lee
Oct 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
the poetry helped me to swim through the waves of tears smashing against my bed and my naked body
You need this in your life. Right now.

One of the most well-written, thought-provoking, passionate, solid and vital voices I have read in a long time. It is heavy reading, but trust me when I say that you will not want to miss a single word.

Every page of Audre Lorde's essays and poems is quotable. Everything collected in 'Your Silence Will Not Protect You' speaks so many truths today, and they were written in the '70s and '80s. Lorde says go straight to hell with your angry black woman stereotyp
Jun 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This essential book collects many of Lorde’s powerful and passionate essays and poems together for the first time.

As I was reading this I would often go back and re read essays after finishing them to try and soak everything in. Whilst these essays and poems were written in the 70’s and 80’s, they could have easily been written in the 2000’s, that’s how tragically little has changed in the state of racial injustice.

Lorde was one of the first to speak about intersectional feminism and some of m
Lauren Anna
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Well-written and unapologetic. It was an interesting and rewarding experience to add these insights to the ideas put forward by other authors I have been reading lately—Ta-Nehisi Coates, Rebecca Solnit, Gloria Steinem—and see how certain parts echo and contradict. Sometimes the collection circles a bit, with certain essays presenting the same ideas in more or less the same words, though this is nevertheless meaningful. The most relevant elements for me were those about fear and power. We can all ...more
Eloise Mcallister
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
10/10 full of super informative bangers
Jan 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
A collection of essays and speeches by the great Audre Lorde. Although mostly written in the 60s and 70s, so many of her assertions ring true today. Her influence is felt still in movements such as Black Lives Matter and Say Her Name. She is so insightful about things such as racism, homophobia, anger, struggle, difference, and I love that this volume included some of her poetry too, which is incredibly powerful.

“Survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and
Declan Fry
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Seminal essays here, the themes of which continue to pose hard questions and challenges for intersectional politics and progressive activism generally. They were also pivotal in shaping academic dialogues around organising and acknowledgement of difference (think Spivak’s concept of strategic essentialism) that still resonate today. Put simply, these are forceful, memorable essays, powerfully written.

The poetry I could take or leave, frankly; though I appreciated Lorde’s own interpretation of w
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Audre Lorde is basically everything I'm not, yet there are few writers whose nonfiction I can relate to like hers. I love what she has to say about why it's important to use your voice, stand up for yourself, and her concepts of creativity - and what it can do - are fascinating. Unfortunately, the poems included at the end of this collection didn't really do it for me, hence the four star rating.
Lauren Morgan
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I FINALLY got round to finishing this and I'm so glad I did.
Caro Briceño
Jul 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Powerful and essential reading. Essays to revisit time and time again, now more than ever.
Mar 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Embarrassingly, my first foray into Lorde's work and it definitely won't be my last. She skewers progressive white movements (particularly white feminism) in ways that are unapologetic and necessary and navigates concepts of intersectionality with nuance and pragmatism. Her themes on anger, activism and inclusivity are so crucial during these polarised times, where 'identity' politics is too-often misappropriated to divide and silence. I am still working on my poetry-reading skills, so the essay ...more
A collection of essays and poems that are decades old yet are incredibly relevant today to the point that some — such as her story of the only Black woman at a women event — could have been written word for word today. Important voice that we shouldn't stop listening to.
Daniel Carrol
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
One of the most urgent, powerful and necessary collections of prose and poetry I've ever read.

While it's tragedy that Lorde's writings about the violence and racism experienced by people of colour, and particularly women of colour are still relevant in 2017 it only speaks truth to the prose included within about how racism and violence work to reinforce whiteness, particularly male whiteness as the status quo.

I can only hope that in the increased visibility of protests against police violence, i
Diana Moreno
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Worth reading. A powerful, eye opening book.
Dec 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m embarrassed to admit I’d never heard of Audre Lorde until I read her name in print twice in the space of a couple of days. Even more surprising was learning this is the first time Lorde has been published in the UK (although her work has otherwise been available from abroad).

The title of this collection of essays and poems sets the tone; concise, clear and packing a punch as vital now as it was when originally written.

In ‘A Conversation with Adrienne Rich’ Lorde explains her initial difficu
I like cake
Oct 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Audre Lorde is incredible. My belief is that if everybody read this book and/or understood it's messages somehow then the world would be very much better for it. I read it in the context of trying to understand how to walk a fine line of solidarity between two differently marginalised groups and she imparts so much strength and hope in this respect. That we must talk about our differences and face one another's stories and anger is vitally important. She highlights that white women often refuse ...more
Ngoc Diep
“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. And I am not free as long as one person of colour remains chained. Nor is any of you.“

Your Silence Will Not Protect You collects Lorde’s many essays, speeches & poems. The fact that most of her work shown in this book were written 40, 50 or even 60 years ago indicates that the issues presented by Lorde still hold a very important message to this day and age considering what’s been happening all aroun
Nik Gorecki
Apr 23, 2020 added it
Shelves: nonfiction
Have been putting off writing a review of this as there's just too much to talk about and I don't want to write an essay on each essay included here, which in itself is a sign of the depth of issues brought up by the collection.

Perhaps the thing I like most about her writing is her approach to talking about politics, to bring things up without pinning down answers in the social science style. The use of poetry is a good example of this: some things don't need to be forensically analysed, and can
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: in-english
"I wheel my two-year-old daughter in a shopping cart through a supermarket in Eastchester in 1967, and a little white girl riding past in her mother's cart call out of excitement, 'Oh look, mommy, a baby maid!' And your mother shushes you, but she does not correct you. And so fifteen years later, at a conference on racism, you can still find that story humorous. But I hear your laughter is full of terror and disease."

The level of emotional tension and its variety are the most significant indicat
Susan Steed
Mar 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“I find nightmare images inside my own self, see them, own them, know that they did not destroy me before and will not destroy me now if I speak them out, admit how they have scarred me, that my mother taught me to survived at the same time as she taught me to fear my own Blackness. 'Don’t trust white people because they mean us no good and don’t trust anyone darker than you because their hearts are as Black as their faces.’ (And where did that leave me, the darkest one?) It is painful even now ...more
Asha G
Oct 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
10 pages into this book and I knew I would give it 5 stars. My one regret is that I was only introduced to Lorde's words earlier this year. Her thoughts and writing are sadly still relevant to this day. Many times I found myself comparing the social issues we faced during the time of writing her essays to the issues we face in 2018 and not being able to see much progress. Lorde's direct approach to intersectional feminism was also powerful and inspiring.

I don't usually like reading physical book
Dec 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Lorde writes with such passionate tenderness, as well as power and drive, and I adore the way she intertwines love, and self-love, in almost everything she writes.

I particularly love the way she speaks of anger, in ways I’ve never seen written about in quite the same manner. There were many quotes I could pick but I think this summarises it quite beautifully:

“Anger – a passion of displeasure that may be excessive or misplaced but not necessarily harmful. Hatred – an emotional habit or attitude
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Loved Audre Lorde's writing, so lyrical and moving. Its a bit depressing that things haven't changed that much and her writing is just as relevant today as it was then. Having said that her voice is an important one and my wish would be that it reaches a wider audience. I particularly enjoyed the chapter on being a lesbian parent of a make child, a moving exploration of how that wasn't recognised for being important for changing how children are raised. The masters tools chapter also resonated a ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It is easier to be furious than to be yearning"

"Guilt is only another way of avoding informed action, of buying time out of the pressing need to make clear choices, out of the approaching storm that can feed the earth as well as bend the trees."

"It is sometimes both the curse and the blessing of the poet to perceive without yet being able to order those perceptions, and that is another name for Chaos.
But of course it is out of Chaos that new worlds are born"

"We must recognise and nurture the cr
So I got this for christmas & somehow didn't twig all the essays are the same as Sister Outsider, which I read last year (oops), but luckily there are great forewords by two authors I really admire (Sara Ahmed & Reni Eddo-Lodge) and a collection of Lorde's poetry at the back, so I read those and am counting the book as read. What's more to say than I just love Lorde's thought and thoughtfulness and pedagogy of anger and way with words? She just...puts down a lot of things I feel, so beautifully. ...more
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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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