In this Reading & Discussion series, we will take a look at the work of Audre Lorde and her view of language and storytelling as powerful technologies for self-empowerment. Each of the five sessions of the series will begin with a discussion of excerpts from her books followed by a writing prompt inspired by the texts we read.
Participants are welcome to join any number of the five sessions in October – December 2020.
Facilitator: Sherese Francis
Power: The Poetry of Audre Lorde 10/10
In this session, we will read Lorde’s “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” and selected poems from Lorde’s collections of poetry, Between Ourselves and The Black Unicorn, to discuss how poetry is a tool to interrogate our concepts of power.
Language As a Technology of Self-Revelation and Community Building 10/24
Using Lorde’s essay, “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,” we will discuss how the power of naming grounds one’s presence and allows connections to form with others for the purpose of activism. Read The Audre Lorde Questionnaire to Oneself by Divya Victor, which will be used as prompts in the workshop: https://divyavictor.com/the-audre-lorde-questionnaire-to-oneself/
Sisterhood as InterNet: Queering Human Relationships 11/7
How do we rethink our social relationships outside the confines of a patriarchal, heteronormative society? We will read excerpts from Lorde’s essays from Sister Outsider, “Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Women and Loving,” “Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power,” “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” and “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House” to discuss the expansive knowledge within a decentralized, intersectional, diverse community.
Reinventing the Sacred Text: Audre Lorde and Biomythography 11/21
To whom do I owe the symbols of my survival? We will read excerpts from Lorde’s biomythography, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name,” and discuss how grounding ourselves in our cultural mythologies as well as creating our own gives sacredness to our lives, and creates codes for us to make ourselves in our images.
Women of Color and Systems of Health 12/5
In this last workshop, we will talk about the lessons learned from Lorde’s previous work and read excerpts from The Cancer Journals, “Breast Cancer: A Black Lesbian Feminist Experience'” and “Breast Cancer: Power vs. Prosthesis” to discuss how women of color create their own spaces for self-care, often within neglectful and dehumanizing health care systems.