Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Needs To Be Said

I've mentioned several times, I've been reading Audre Lorde. There is so much I could say about The Cancer Journals, but I've decided I really want to invite a dialogue about some of the points she raises.

She writes, "My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you." This is in part about how she will deal with her fears and how she will continue her work despite her cancer. But this isn't just about facing her mortality, it is about how we are silent because of judgment and separation. She continues, "And where the words of women are crying to be heard, we must each of us recognize our responsibility to seek those words out, to read them and share them and examine them in their pertinence to our lives."

Do these ideas speak to you? In what ways? What do you remain silent about? When you write, are you seeking out a community of women? Does your work ever reflect a feminist or political view?

15 comments:

Cloudscome said...

This makes me think of all the adoption blogs I've been reading in the past couple years. Adoptees, first mothers, adoptive mothers.... the most honest writing I've ever read. Voices once silenced now come together. It's been an education and a liberation.

paisley said...

either no one but me posted a thursday heart of poetry promise group... or i am doing something wrong... i left a message on PWB... but no answer all day... what are we supposed to do?????

susan said...

hi paisley, I don't belong to that group. It's still early, folks might not be online yet. I'm a little confused by your post. I don't see how it relates to the my original topic.

susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
susan said...

paisley, I forgot the name of the group. Were you added to it? Folks may need time to get around.

paisley said...

my previous comment was off topic.. so that would be why you failed to see its relevance.... i have not read the cancer journals.. in fact i know not what they are...but i will google them right now and if it seems like something i would enjoy ill grab a copy on amazon....thanks for the suggestion....

my thoughts on the rest of the questions you already know... a well written line is a well written line,, i don't care who wrote it or why....

polkadotwitch said...

i remain silent about so many many things in my life -- i write only to help give these things a context in my world, to see how they're part of my story. i can say things in writing that i don't share person to person -- maybe b/c i don't envision a reader.

i guess that means i'm not looking for a community of women in terms of subject matter. (that's very group therapy-y and it makes my stomach feel icky).

i do like to write IN community with women, though. and i do like to read fellow women poets.

i never write poetry about politics or anything political really. but feminist? i suppose it depends on the definition. that's a tricky one. if it's feminist to say "i'm disillusioned by my domestic life," then, yes, i write about feminist stuff. but if it's equal rights or global empowerment, i don't include that in my poetry.

i love this discussion topic. love it!!

Crafty Green Poet said...

I've not read The Cancer Journals, but I have been very impressed by other Lorde poems I've read. I write a lot of poetry that has issues in it, but I don't usually write overtly political poetry, because it can be a fine line between overtly political and rant. I posted a poem about keeping silent recently ( Shoes)

susan said...

PWD, you write, "i guess that means i'm not looking for a community of women in terms of subject matter." What does this mean? And is your response related to Lorde's assertion that we should seek out the words of women and consider their pertinence to our own lives?

When you say you don't envision a reader, who then is your audience? Is your work written primarily for you?

To all, is your work a communication to an audience? Is your work an invitation for dialogue?

Pearl said...

My poems keep getting more and more feminist. ach me. At the same time I'm not sure I reach for a community that is gendered. Silence isn't bad if it is processing time to fully understand. If silence is fearful, that is either a hiding from going forward, or a building strength to push past fear.

susan said...

Hi Pearl,
Where can I read your poetry? I've glanced quickly at a few blogs, but I do not see work signed off by you. Please provide me links here or feel free to write me at my email.

Beccca said...

I do tend to remain silent about things which might be considered controversial, or in which my opinion might be out of favor with the majority. Why? I guess I've always been one to shy away from creating or embroiling myself in conflict. And sometimes I don't feel well enough informed about issues (particularly political)to state my opinion.

Interesting question Susan. Thanks for posing it.

susan said...

Hi Becca,

Thanks for commenting and I appreciate your compliments on Lilacs & Lemons.

Christy said...

"My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you."

I think these are very powerful and very true lines that could open up lots of discussion.

There are many things we remain silent about and many reasons we remain silent. I think though it comes down to fear, fear of rejection, fear of exposure, fear of hurting someone else...

I believe I am becoming less silent as I grow older with the fear of rejection and fear of exposure become less of an obstacle for me. I find myself wanting to be heard and my life and experiences to be known and recorded. I still have a fear of harming others by my writing and so I remain silent about things I think might hurt others or they might not be ready to have exposed.

When I write I am writing to make sense of something that has happened or is bothering me, to record an experience, to express my opinion... I don't generally write to encourage dialogue though sometimes my writing is a dialogue with myself. I write to express myself how I view the world, my thoughts opinions and feelings. I do hope that somehow my words will touch the reader and make them feel or think but I don't write with a specific goal in mind.

susan said...

Hi Christy,

Often the dialogue is not shared. When the author writes the novel, she is communicating a message and if the novel engages us, moves us, there has been an exchange. Of course, unless we actually meet or write the author, she doesn't know how the work has affected us, but communication has occurred.

If we are writers, creating a work, then we are melding experience with fiction, our creativity. We are doing more than journaling.

I wonder as I read responses and a variety of blogs if we journaling or creating. I am writer. My work is influenced by experiences but when I write, it's not my diary, it is my view of issues that matter to, stories I think worth telling.

Glad you came by.