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The Black Unicorn: Poems

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,504 ratings  ·  110 reviews
Rich continues: "Refusing to be circumscribed by any simple identity, Audre Lorde writes as a Black woman, a mother, a daughter, a Lesbian, a feminist, a visionary; poems of elemental wildness and healing, nightmare and lucidity. Her rhythms and accents have the timelessness of a poetry which extends beyond white Western politics, beyond the anger and wisdom of Black Ameri ...more
Paperback, 136 pages
Published August 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 1978)
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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
Dolors
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those appreciative of colorful mosaics
Recommended to Dolors by: Samadrita
Shelves: read-in-2014, poetry
Reading Audre Lorde has proved to be an equally challenging and rewarding endeavor. Her poetry requires allocated concentration in order to meet the plurality of Lorde’s artistic expression. For plural identity, plurality of dissimilarities and oppressions, plurality of meaning and intention permeate the poems included in this anthology.
There is not a spare word in the amalgamation of colloquial use of language that includes press news, mental dialogues with long gone friends or family and the
...more
Michael
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, poetry, 2016
Lorde’s strongest poetry collection, marked by stark images, fiery language, and elliptical meaning. The contrast between the poet’s forthright tone and the many readings her layered poems invite makes for an arresting reading experience.
BrokenTune
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
A few weeks ago I mentioned that one of my ambitions for 2016 was to read more poetry. A few days ago I found a couple of reviews over on GR which recommended Lorde's work.

I have no intention of writing much about my impressions of her poetry or try an interpretation based on the author's life and experience (as if I could). Some of the poems were more tangible than others, but I thought I'd offer up some examples:

*****
COPING

It has rained for five days
running
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless
...more
Leslie Reese
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Audre Lorde was such a strong truth-teller and master of the craft of poetry. For me, her poems frankly pulsate with psychic power, love, feminine majesty, pain and cruel facts no one wants to know but must.

I happened to be reading this collection during the weeks when we learned that there would be no indictments for the police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Eric Garner in New York City. And while this collection of Lorde's poems was published in 1978, two of the 67 poe
...more
Olivia-Savannah  Roach
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
It’s always hard to review a collection of poems, but this is something I want to do for the words of Lorde because it was an absolutely amazing read. In only two days I had raced through the collection – which says something because you can’t speed read through poetry. When you read a poem, after each and every one you need a moment of pause, of reflection and a gaining of understanding. The fact that this collection only took two days means I wanted to do nothing but immerse myself further in ...more
Maie panaga
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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.
Bianca
Loved, Loved, Loved these poems. It's rare that I read a book of poetry, but I read "For colored girls..." recently and I think they really compliment each other. I love its afrocentricity, and the almost mystical language she uses in many poems, especially at the beginning. So much revolves around the planets, the sun, the moon, Orisha, and magic and it still feels very real and down to earth. It's also SO relevant even today despite being written almost 40 years ago. There is a poem about a bl ...more
Shejanul Islam
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
If you are going through lot of despairing moments and don’t have anyone to talk to, I recommend to read not only Audra’s poems but also her life story. She is just a blessing.
Andrea Blythe
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
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
sasha
Apr 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
audre lorde is my lesbian mum and i love her poetry and choice of words and everything.
there are funny poems, honest ones, earnest ones, ones about lesbian sex, ones about death, she covers almost every topic possible and does it in a fantastic way. her poetry really touches me.
Lars Meijer
’I search through the index / of each new book / on magic / hoping to find some new spelling / of your name.’

*3,5
Sarah
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
so good to revisit some of audre lorde’s poetry 🌹 some of my favourite poems ever are in this collection ❣️
Sally
Jun 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
realer than ever - I'm so glad I read this
Jocelyn
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Love how poignant Audre Lorde's writing is.
Ana
No one better to read on World Poetry Day than Audre Lorde ❤️
jocelyn
Mar 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ownvoices, bipoc, poetry
If I were a drum
you would beat me
listening for the echo
of your own touch


This is a really powerful collection with some truly moving pieces. In particular, I loved Coping, Sahara, and Eulogy for Alvin Frost. Even though this was written 40 years ago it still feels very contemporary. And sadly, some of the topics (namely police brutality and black people being murdered without respite) are still relevant to our society today.
Tamara
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, 2018
This was such a good read. I really like Audre Lorde's poems, they are about so many different things from lesbians over race to death and everything in between. They are so interesting and beautifully written.
I think these are the kinds of poems that I need to read more than once to actually *get* them if that makes sense but I loved it anyway. Audre is brilliant in general so I knew this would be good tbh.
Lara
Jul 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017, poetry
I don't think I really have the brain power right now to do this justice, but this is another really good collection of Lorde's poems. It's much longer than previous volumes, and while it felt somewhat inconsistent to me, there are still a lot of really great poems here. I'd usually list out the ones I really connected with here, and maybe include an actual example poem, but brain fog is making this difficult. Maybe I'll come back to it at some point. For now, suffice to say, it's a good one!
Sara-Jayne Poletti
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm blown away with how much this collection of poetry connected me with my badass, powerful feminine energy. I love the allusions to folklore, the strong imagery, and the feelings each individual poem provokes. I don't pretend to understand poetry all that much, but I'm still gonna go ahead and recommend this one.
Kaitlyn
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the first collection by Audre Lorde I've read and it is brilliant. She's a true poet and I loved her word choices and repetition. The themes and messages of this collection were heart-wrenching and still relevant today.
Caroline Mao
Dec 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lgbt, 2017, classics, poetry
good shit

10/10 would read more of
Daniel Casey
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
"Eulogy for Alvin Frost," "A Litany for Survival," "Harriet," & "At First I thought you were talking about" really stood out to me but there isn't a weak poem in the collection ...more
Sara
May 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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."
Magali
Jan 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm in love with Audre Lorde's writing. I need to keep this collection of poems always nearby to be able to read them again at will. That's how magnificent they are.
Oren Whightsel
Jun 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
again, an amazing book. the poem entitle "power" is my all time favorite.
Karlijn
Jan 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poëzie, in-kast, queer
3,5 ster
"I am tempted
to take you apart
and reconstruct your orifices
your tongue your truths you fleshy alters
into my own forgotten image

so when this fog lifts
I could be sure to find you
tethered like a goat
in my heart's yard."
Hannah Bergstrom de Leon
Dec 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional. Utterly, devastatingly exceptional. Sadly, still relevant to today's American experience. A compilation of poems I will need to read again and again. Lorde is a master.
Rachel Atakpa
Dec 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
“I will eat the last signs of my weakness / remove the scars of old childhood wars / and dare to enter the forest whistling / like a snake that has fed the chameleon / for changes / I shall be forever. / may I never forget / the warning of my woman’s flesh / weeping at the new moon / may I never lose / that terror / that keeps me brave.”
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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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“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”
499 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.”
275 likes
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