The Black Unicorn [Poetry Collection Review]

The Black Unicorn [Poetry Collection Review]
Hello there!
Title: The Black Unicorn
Author: Audre Lorde
Publisher: Norton & Company LLC
Published Date: 17th August 1995
Rating: 5 stars
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Synopsis: 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
America, beyond the North American earth, to Abomey and the Dahomeyan Amazons.
These are poems nourished in an oral tradition, which also blaze and pulse on
the page, beneath the reader’s eye.”
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Review: 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 the words Lorde wrote.
I originally read this as a recommendation from my
sister. A little bit about Lorde: I have learned that she was a black
African-American who was born in New York but traveled around the world in her
lifetime. She had sisters, was lesbian, a civil rights activist and also a
feminist. Knowing how to be all those things in her time could not have been
easy, and you can only come to imagine what level of strength this woman might
have.
Her poetry was beautifully written because she uses
various techniques that make the words what they are. I loved her use of
repetition, especially in poems such as Sahara
and Hanging Fire. She expertly
uses the technique in the latter poem to build the eerie suspense and leaves an
open end to the poem that has the reader hooked.
Alongside her clever use of metaphors, the imagery never
becomes too vivid that it is impossible to determine the meaning of the poem.
Sometimes the clue is in the title. Sometimes you just need to think a little
and it’s within your reach. You come to learn that Lorde was someone who was
immersed in current news and an array of her poems reflect events and
situations which happened in her time.
Most of all, I loved the themes she chose to cover. There
is a distinct number of poems which deal with the difficulties that came along
with being coloured in the time of which she wrote this collection. And yes,
some of those poems are still relevant for today. She also perfectly captures
what it is to be a woman, and needing to stand strong and affirm yourself when
being looked down upon. She brings fourth all the emotions, love and care that
come along with it too. I think these two themes stood out most to me.
All I can say is, if you’re an appreciator of poetry or
are looking into trying it, this is a collection I can’t recommend enough.
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Quotes: “I am
a woman. Whether or not you are against me, I will braid my hair, even in the
season of rain.” –Dahomey, Audre Lorde
“I come as a woman / dark and open / sometimes I fall
like night / softly / and terrible / only when I must die / in order to rise
again.” –Women of Dan Dance with Swords in their Hands to Mark the Time When
They Were Warriors, Audre Lorde
“Grow up black and strong and beautiful / but not too
soon.” –Eulogy for Alvin Frost, Audre Lorde
“Our labour has become more important than silence.” –A
Song for Many Movements, Audre Lorde
“What you know can hurt. but what you do not know can
kill.” –But What Can You Teach My Daughter, Audre Lorde
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Gif Summary:

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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!
Olivia’s Question: What themes do you find most pressing
and important at this current moment?
Olivia-Savannah x


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