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Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Crossing Press Feminist Series) Paperback – August 1, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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"Perhaps ... I am the face of one of your fears. Because I am a woman, because I am Black, because I am a lesbian, because I am myself -- a Black woman warrior poet doing my work -- come to ask you, are you doing yours?" This is how Audre Lorde introduces herself in a paper entitled "The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action." Audre Lorde takes personal responsibility for this essential, perpetual transformation. In Sister Outsider she enters into dialogue with listeners and readers, lending us her voice and challenging us to speak and act for ourselves. She insists that we pay attention, that we confront the limitations we set upon ourselves and each other; her words have weight and resonance because she listens as rigorously as she speaks. She asks and risks more of herself than might seem possible; the political is personal on many levels of her life. She writes about facing the threat of cancer, about being part of an interracial lesbian couple raising a son, about sex, poetry, rage, and restraint. She is a fiercely intelligent writer, addressing racism, sexism, and heterosexism from the heart of her individual experience as an African-American, lesbian poet/warrior. Audre Lorde demonstrates how each of us must speak for and from our most intimate knowledge, yet simultaneously extend the boundaries around ourselves to include the "outsider," to include more than we have been, more than we thought we could imagine. -- For great reviews of books for girls, check out Let's Hear It for the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. -- From 500 Great Books by Women; review by Kirsten Backstrom --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Publisher

* The classic collection of 15 essays and speeches by the prominent black lesbian feminist writer Audre Lorde, reissued with a new foreword by Cheryl Clarke. * Required reading in many cultural theory, literary criticism, gay/lesbian studies, and women's studies programs at universities. * Includes landmark essays such as "Uses of the Erotic" and "Poetry Is Not a Luxury" and a seminal dialogue between Lorde and poet Adrienne Rich.
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Product Details

  • Series: Crossing Press Feminist Series
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Crossing Press; Reprint edition (August 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1580911862
  • ISBN-13: 978-1580911863
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Scott Woods on May 19, 2002
Format: Paperback
No poems this time around, folks: prose that gets under your skin and into your head. The late, great Audre Lorde, known primarily for her poetry over the years, wrote what is one of the most compelling books on sociology, sexuality, racism and the nature of human character and existence in the last 20 years. Her charges are damning, but dashed with more than a spoonful of hope when appropriate, and it is impossible to walk away from this book unchanged.
No New Age-isms, no agendas...just common-sense reactions to everyday experiences told in a way that not only everyone can understand, but in a way everyone SHOULD understand.
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Format: Paperback
Although Audre Lorde distinguished herself as a poet, her prose writings are an indispensable part of her overall literary achievement. "Sister Outsider" is an excellent collection of her prose from the late 1970s and early 1980s. This book brings together essays, speeches, journal entries, and an illuminating dialogue between Lorde and sister poet Adrienne Rich. While each piece stands alone as a complete and thought-provoking gem, the book as a whole constitutes one of the most extraordinary intellectual testaments of the 20th century.
Lorde writes from her perspective as a Black woman, a lesbian, a feminist, a poet, a mother, a teacher, and a cultural activist. Her voice is forthright and unsparing in moral outrage, yet filled with hope and poetic beauty. One of the core themes unifying this collection is her incisive analysis of the interlocking, overlapping axes of difference, privilege, abuse, and resistance. As she deconstructs such phenomena as homophobia, racism, and sexism, Lorde is both intellectually ambitious and down-to-earth; in her arguments with academic figures, she never forgets the real impact of discrimination and violence upon those who live outside the relatively privileged worlds of academia.
Each piece in "Sister Outsider" makes a unique contribution to the overall impact of the book. "Notes from a Trip to Russia" is a fascinating historical document from the Cold War era. "Poetry Is Not a Luxury" serves as an important part of Lorde's artistic manifesto. "An Open Letter to Mary Daly" offers an illuminating glimpse into some of the tensions within the feminist movement of the 1970s. And "Grenada Revisited" is a powerful counterpoint to the Reaganite view of a military action in the Caribbean.
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By A Customer on August 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Audre Lorde was one of the most amazing, beautiful women of this century. She is truly inspirational and mind-blowing. Sister Outsider is a book of essays, all of them really well-written, insightfull, and thought provoking. The essay that the "Your silence will not protect you" quote is from is in this book and it is beautiful. Please get this book, read it and tell others about it. "When I dare to be powerful and to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether or not I am afraid" -Audre Lorde
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Format: Paperback
This book is a compilation of material Lorde wrote in the 70s 80s. Lorde is one of the foremost writers on the subjects of patriarchy, sexism, homphobia and race relations that the West has ever seen. She talks about how to make change and helps the reader truly understand the situation of people who are underprivileged and discriminated against in our society. Of all the books I read in my Women's Studies classes, this is the one that stayed with me. It is at once intellectually challenging and accessible. I particularly enjoyed her "Notes from a Trip to Russia" and "An Open Letter to Mary Daly." The piece that has had the most impact on my life, however, is "The Masters Tools," which is a blueprint for change. She is giving us the keys we need to not only improve our own lives, but the world as a whole. Lorde's words ring as true today as they did when the book was first published. A must read!!!
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"I have come to work on you like a drug or a chisel" wrote the late Audre Lorde. Her passing created a hollow space in my soul that is now full again, thanks to Audre Lorde. Despite the fact that 'Sister Outsider' is assigned in virtually every women's studies and gender studies 101, do not think it is dry, ultimately a mere 'academic' book. Audre Lorde lived in and for a radical poetics and a radical pedagogy. If you have not discovered her work yet, please get a hold of a copy. It might save your life the way it saved mine, and I am white, male and straight, with a fierce hatred of white supremacy, patriarchy, and homophobia. But never mind my repeating a mantra you have heard, simply read this book as soon as possible.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish I'd read this book 30 years ago when it came out. It's still as relevant today as it was then--and in many ways just as revolutionary. I'm not black, but it applies to anyone who does not run with the crowd and has a strong desire to look at things honestly in spite of the personal discomfort involved. Things need to change in the US--we need to see ourselves as in this thing together(life, the "American experiment"),and this book drives that home.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book pieces together many sources that create a fairly comprehensive picture of Audre Lorde. She makes one of the more compelling cases for why anger should be in the arsenal of minority-status groups, which is something I'm always struggling with in feminism, Black feminism, et al.
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