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Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Essays and Poems

4.65  ·  Rating details ·  1,226 ratings  ·  106 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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 ·  1,226 ratings  ·  106 reviews

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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
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
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.
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
Bookish Bethany
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Revolution is not a one time event. It is becoming always vigilant for the smallest oppertunity to make a genuine change in established, outgrown responses [...] it is learning to address each other's differences with respect"

Everyone should read this book. It seethes with power, anger, love, the fight against oppression. Lorde emphasizes the fight towards a better future of togetherness that does not ignore the brutalities of the past or the brutalities against black women by white men who cal
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
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
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
Jul 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I didn't realise what a huge gap in my intersectional feminist reading I had left by not reading this book sooner. A truly foundational text, that does not shy away from the harsh realities of the system under which specifically Black women (and more specifically Black lesbian women) live, but also drives towards a better future unapologetically. Lyrical, accessible, powerful, brilliant. Essential reading, and beautifully put together by Silver Press. ...more
Sioned Heal
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should know about Audre Lorde!

Her exploration of passion, anger, love, racism and sexism has sparked a strength inside of me and, most importantly, an insight into the strength, courage, pain, beauty, struggle, reality of being black and female in the western world.

She gracefully analyses the depths and damage of social conditioning in each of us. Demanding, clearly and thoughtfully, a change (personal and political) that is still so relevant today!

What a privilege it has been to read
Eloise Mcallister
Jul 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
10/10 full of super informative bangers
Maria Park
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, poetry
Audre Lord was the first feminist author I ever read who explained the theory of "The Other" in terms that made practical sense.

As a young and idealistic woman, I ran into radical feminism and did not find it to my liking. The thought of disavowing half of the world, (men), because they were inherently unable to understand a peaceful approach to life seemed unfair.

However, in my zeal to embrace my sisters, and to recover my self-respect and dignity after being abused at the hands of the Patriarc
⋒ Natalie ⋒
Jul 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Audre’s writing transcends time and space, her winged words finding their way straight into your heart, elevating you until your spirit soars. Hers is wisdom to live by, to fight by, and to share, as far and wide as you possibly can. A most valued sisterhood.

"The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives. It is within this light that we form those ideas by which we pur
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
Diana Moreno
Mar 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Worth reading. A powerful, eye opening book.
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Audre Lorde is a bonafide academic, and this entire volume of work deserves to be studied. The title alone is steeped in the kind of directed and focussed anger that Lorde so desperately wants us to harness and utilise in bringing about systemic change. This particular collection begins with essays asking us to redefine the terms erotic, and reevaluate the role poetry plays in our education. This is Lorde putting into practise perhaps her most famous axiom “the master’s tools will never dismantl ...more
Aug 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Omg!! What an absolute masterpiece of a collection!
And such a gift to have read as my introduction to Audre Lorde’s writing...
I had to pause and breathe out after certain sentences because of how well written and how on point they were.
I love when writers make me say out loud to myself “godamnit that’s so fucking good! I love their words !” And I probably said that on each essay I read in this book.
Even just at the preface and intro I was thinking that thanks to Reni Eddo-Lodge and Sara Ahmed’
Lauren (Pip)
Sep 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel compelled to explain how this collection of poetry and essays made me feel. The way Audre writes about the depiction of racism, sexism and prejudice in the mid-late 20th century is beautiful, harrowing and impossibly sad. The imagery she uses at points is particularly gruesome and made me feel sick to my stomach. Not an easy read, but definitely an important one. I'll be thinking about this book for a long time. ...more
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. ...more
donnalyn ♡
Dec 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
last book of 2020 and one i will carry with me always. absolutely perfect edition with reni eddo-lodge’s preface and sara ahmed’s introduction, and with poetry alongside speeches and essays – very beautifully structured. it is so special and eternal and uplifting; reni eddo-lodge describes lorde’s work as “feminist comfort” & it rings so true in every page. i love that audre lorde is a poet through and through in all of her writing. it is such a gift to read her work !!!!
Jan 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
10/10. I’ve been reading this very slowly over the last six months, pausing lots and sitting on things and reading bits over, and it’s everything it’s cracked up to be. Lorde’s writing about Blackness, womanhood, queerness, motherhood and academia feels like it could have been written in 2020 rather than the 70s-80s. A seminal feminist work I wish I’d read earlier, unapologetic and graphic and utterly piercing, somehow hopeful. ‘The master’s tools’ is a reference I think I will need to use in my ...more
Lauren Morgan
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I FINALLY got round to finishing this and I'm so glad I did. ...more
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.
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
The essays have a level of relatability I don't usually find from other feminist texts. I adore her outlook on the world. My copy has highlighted quotes everywhere. ...more
Nov 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this is a fantastic collection of audre lorde's essays and poems. loved every single one of them. such an important feminist text, my only regret is that I didn't pick this up earlier! ...more
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
I love that you can tell she's a poet in her essays and the fact that this book included both. ...more
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
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Audre Lorde was 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 ...more

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