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

The Collected Poems

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  1,943 Ratings  ·  45 Reviews
This is the definitive and complete Audre Lorde collection, including original and revised versions of Lorde's previously unavailable early poems and her later work, which Robin Morgan calls "sinewy, lyrical, celebratory even in the face of death." Lorde was able to write indignantly about political matters ("jessehelms," her excoriation of the right-wing icon, is outrageo ...more
Paperback, 512 pages
Published May 8th 2002 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1997)
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 Collected Poems, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Collected Poems

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Aug 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing

is the total black, being spoken
from the earth's inside.
There are many kinds of open
how a diamond comes into a knot of flame
how sound comes into a words, coloured
by who pays what for speaking.

Some words are open like a diamond
on glass windows
singing out within the crash of sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
in a perforated book - buy and sign and tear apart -
and come whatever will all chances
the stub remains
an ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Apr 02, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry

We made strong poems for each other
exchanging formulas for our own particular magic
all the time pretending
we were not really witches
and each time we would miss
some small ingredient
that one last detail
that would make the spell work
Each one of us
too busy
hearing our other voices
the sound of our own guards
calling the watch at midnight
assuring us
we were still safely asleep
so when it came time to practice
what we had learned
one grain was always missing
one word unsaid
so the pot did not boil
Amanda Roddey
Aug 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
The Collected Poems of Audre Lord by Audre Lorde

Lord, Audre (2007) New York, New York: W.W. Norton
Target Audience: 6-up - varying by poem

All of Audre Lorde’s poems are rich, vivid, and full of life. They paint pictures of every life experience imaginable. However, this is why one must be weary when giving this book to a child. There are many poems that are not intended for young children so they must be assigned cautiously. Nonetheless, these poems “tell it like it is” as they don’t shy away fro
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is such strength and wisdom in Audre Lorde's words. Her poems truly capture a life of struggle, determination, and healing. Here are two of my favorites:

The Fallen

Bright uncanny music was beating through the room.
We had come
to seek some long range
and less threatening death
for us
but the coffee fouled with memory
and I spoke through a mouth
of unshed tears.
Your wild hair curled about your eyes
like commas
in a poem I could not read.
Our words fell
crumpled empty circles
and the beating rain o
Ralowe Ampu
May 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
this is the first time i've ever read any book of poetry cover to cover. i'm attemtping to be as thorough as possible in my search for audre lorde's ideas of self-care. it comes close to the ideas of foucault, wherein it is intertwined with knowing the self, the practice of building an edifice of images that make the self coherent, storytelling, biography, history, myth. the area i found most beautiful in this work were the selections drawn from the black unicorn. black unicorn was clearly the f ...more
Chris Drew
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this collection. Lorde has a lot to say, and to see her thoughts and feelings as they spread and evolved across the history of her work was a really wonderful experience. The range of the work is incredible, and her style has a wonderful feeling of openness, actively avoiding too heavy of a 'high' or 'academic' tone, and attempting to seriously acknowledge and speak to a very grounded and real every day world. This world is sometimes unjust, violent, dangerous, or adverse, but i ...more
Angélique (Angel)
I grieved when I finished this collection. I grieved, because I would miss the anticipation of a new bit of truth or perspective or resonance that I found every time I opened this book. I grieved, because, over the course of this collection, I felt I had grown to know Lorde in a sense--I had been made privy to her processes and growth over the years from her first published poetry book to her last. I grieved, because I have never before found so much of myself and my intersections reflected in s ...more
Sep 08, 2012 rated it did not like it
Did not read, could not remember why I ordered it.
Tatiana Brown
Apr 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Audre Lorde is one of my favorite poets besides Diane DiPrima, Allen Ginsberg, and Sherman Alexie. the level of beauty and grace in her work never ceases to amaze me. I was actually incredibly excited to find this particular collection because it included one of my favorite poems which is extremely hard to find anywhere else. 'Martha.' Is a piece I found during my sophomore year of high school and never since has there been anything that tugs at my heartstrings or makes me understand the level o ...more
May 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not usually read such massive collections of poetry within "short" time frames. However, I checked this one out from the library and once I begun I knew it would be difficult to finish, but I wanted to. Her work did something to me as I was reading, and there were several times I had to just sit it down and ponder.

Lorde was so authentic, raw, unapologetic and reminded me of other poets I admire for this same energy while at the same time presenting one uniquely her own. From beauty to ange



Feb 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll admit that I didn't make it through the entire volume, but only because I don't own it and had to keep returning it to the library. This is a beautiful collection of poems from one of the best-known African American poets. Her style sometimes led me to feel like I wasn't grasping the entire meaning of the poem, and there was probably a lot below the surface of each one. But if you just let the language wash over you while you read, you really start to appreciate her words.
Jan 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
I struggle with reading poetry and am therefore drawn to poets that emphasize historical or political themes that I can grasp on to. Lorde does not disappoint - this collection is arranged chronologically, so you can see Lorde's changing concerns and stages of life - none of it seems wasted or tacked on.
Jana Tenbrook (LeggingsAreNeverPants)
Harsh, provocative poetry from a Civil Rights activist. There is deep meaning in this poetry, but it is thoroughly uncomfortable and difficult to get through. Often, the meaning and importance gets lost in the offensive nature in which it is presented.
Jun 24, 2016 marked it as to-read
* 65 Books You Need To Read In Your 20s: 54

Audre Lorde called herself a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, and poet,” and her poems — about race, sexuality, love, loss, parenthood, politics, and death — are emotional and angry and warm all at once.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I recently picked up this wonderfully large collection of Lorde's poetry and found myself tearing up while standing in a rush-hour subway car. She has a way of taking you away and showing you the importance of what she is saying with her words.
I read this through and through in University and thought Audre Lorde was a phenomenal poet then. Add some 20 -30 years and I am even more impressed. Clarity and grand visual works that are sent to that responsive space. Still love this poet. I agree with every review written...
Apr 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, feminism
A What a wonderful book. This contains all of the collections of poetry of Audre Lorde; she is such a fantastic, powerful, amazing writer.
Christina Curran
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Apr 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
My mistake here, I think, was reading the complete compendium. I liked many of the smaller books within, but gave up on the complete collection after a while.
Sep 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: lgbtq, poetry
I am sad to say that Lorde's poetry doesn't move me as much as her prose. Ah well.
Mar 08, 2009 marked it as to-read
I read some of these poems online in order to write a cento about lesbian forbidden love, and I immediately fell in love with what I read. I must have more!
Sep 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic, visual poems, would highly recommend a beginner start with one of her individual volumes, but boy, is her work powerful. Beautiful.
Dec 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. Intense. So many great and thought-provoking words. A few of my favorites: "On a night of the full moon"; "If You Come Softly"; "Eulogy". But, really the whole collection is amazing.
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
i picked this up again. brillant poetry. just the thing to take with me on the train to montreal.
Mar 16, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: women, poc, lgbt, poetry
I don't know why I keep thinking that reading giant volumes of poetry will work for me. It never does.
Christina Olivares
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
yes, yes, yes
Apr 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Audre Lorde always said it best. Her poems carried me through dark times, but I find solace in them in bright moments now, too.
Fiorella Morzi
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I devoured this collection within a few days. I'm at a loss for words. Stunning and warm and fierce all at once.
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
On writing that expands the set of people with whom you identify and changes the way you think.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Directed by Desire: The Collected Poems
  • Alien vs. Predator
  • The Collected Poems
  • Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems, 1988-2000
  • Actual Air
  • Not Vanishing
  • How's Your Drink?: Cocktails, Culture, and the Art of Drinking Well
  • The Fact of a Doorframe: Poems Selected and New, 1950-1984
  • Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde
  • Quicksand and Passing
  • Shake Loose My Skin: New and Selected Poems
  • The Women Who Hate Me: Poetry, 1980-1990
  • Dear Diary
  • How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Simple Recipes Anyone Can Cook
  • What She Saw...
  • Oh the Glory of it All
  • Anthony Bourdain Omnibus: Kitchen Confidential and A Cook's Tour
  • Consensual Genocide
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...

Share This Book

“There is a timbre of voice
that comes from not being heard
and knowing / you are not being
heard / noticed only
by others / not heard
for the same reason.”
“It does not pay to cherish symbols when the substance lies so close at hand.” 16 likes
More quotes…