The ever-thoughtful, often brilliant Lorde hasn’t always received the notice she deserves. Ideally, The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, edited by one of her artistic progenies, the author Roxane Gay, will right that wrong ... The works collected here are equally divided between prose and poetry, providing an excellent entry point into Lorde’s wide-ranging yet particular concerns and capturing her singular literary voice, aptly described by Gay as 'intelligent, fierce, powerful, sensual, provocative, indelible' ... Lorde never shied away from unpopular truths, and her essays, often written as public addresses, take on not only the patriarchy but also the feminist movement, which shunted aside (or blatantly ignored) the different realities of women of color ... Racism was an inescapable companion for Lorde, and her fierce reactions to it—weariness, rage, sometimes astonishment but never acceptance—remain timely ... Perhaps the world is catching up with Audre Lorde at last.
Any opportunity to contemplate Lorde would be a cause for celebration. The Selected Works of Audre Lorde, edited and introduced by Roxane Gay, arrives at an especially interesting moment, however. Lorde’s writing has rarely been more influential — or more misunderstood ... this is a balanced and representative sampling of Lorde’s writing — inspired, even, where the poetry is concerned. I longed only for context and more restitution ... I wished for more reckoning with her political imagination and why she is persistently misread, with both cynicism and sentimentality ... The boon in this book is its wealth of poetry. Lorde is beloved for her essays and her groundbreaking memoir, Zami, with its vivid, sexy, very funny depictions of the drama of Downtown 'gay-girl' life in the ’50s, but she insisted she was a poet first.
...a new, well-balanced anthology of prose and poetry featuring many of Lorde’s greatest hits and a new introduction by Roxane Gay. The collection contains many classic essays and lectures that her fans will recognize ... Readers primarily familiar with these works will find a compelling selection of her verse, as well as some of her more personal writing about her childhood and about the cancer that would eventually lead to her death at age fifty-eight ...The anthology lacks any of Lorde’s notable public conversations, like her famous talk—published in Essence in 1984—with James Baldwin about what Black men fail to realize about the struggles of Black women; still, the new book is a good place to begin, particularly for readers yet to discover Lorde as a poet ... To read Lorde is to encounter a flame that is unashamed to be one, even in a world that fears fire. To read Lorde is to begin the work of unmanacling and decolonizing one’s mind, to begin the urgent work of learning how all things—identities, prejudices, systems, histories, desires—are linked. To read Lorde is to learn as much as to unlearn, to embrace the oft-maligned characteristic of being blunt, to feel a woman’s uncensored rage about the many Clifford Glovers that are being killed in America by white officers who desire little more than to dominate and destroy a Black body. To read Lorde is to encounter a writer whose vision of a murderous, ravenous America is, at its red core, all too similar to our own, its hunger for Black bodies and blood still just as chillingly insatiable now as it was then.