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Why Poetry IS a Luxury?

Poetry serves many purposes in our every day life. It is the song that you listen to in the morning that makes you feel like something special, it is the words on a love note that you send to your beloved when your passion for them takes over your entire being. So why did Audre Lorde title her article, “Poetry Is Not a Luxury?” It is something that make us feel good, but isn’t easy to achieve.

Lorde describes poetry as being an illuminating force that allows us to analyze our lives, thereby providing us with the ideas to make sense of it all (1). Before that point, poetry had no name, it was formless until this realization pulled it from its swollen essence. But I still don’t understand, how can poetry not be a luxury in this sense? If it possesses the capability of bringing meaning to life through the written word, then this is a luxury, as it is something not everyone can do. To others, this illumination may not come as easily or may be harder to find.

Perhaps, they have not learned to bear intimacy with the analysis of their world. Lorde says, “For each of us as women, there is a dark place within where hidden and growing our true spirit rises, ‘Beautiful and tough as chestnut as chestnut/stanchions against our nightmare of weakness’ and of impotence” (1). Can our true spirit rise through poetry? As I read this line, I wondered, how can poetry help women navigate through this dark place where their true spirit rise. I must admit, going through something dark and troubling does help me see the “light” and run to it in written prose. Others can’t do the same. So why isn’t this apart of what the luxury is?

The object of possibility resides in darkness. Many artists can attest to this; Lady Gaga or Jimi Hendrix, or even my beloved, Prince, for example. In their darkness, they fall asunder to the pain that comes with it, and delve into drugs. This actually they might have argued that the darkness is where their art came from, and the minute they sprung out of it, they lost their art. Lorde argues, “These places of possibility within ourselves are dark because they are ancient and hidden; they have survived and grown strong through darkness” (1). I think the growing strong through the darkness does not always happen. They fall too deep in their darkness and eventually succumb to it. However, artists like Lady Gaga had the luxury of using her poetry to ascend from the same fall that tormented her.

So, I ask again, how is poetry not a luxury?

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~ by Ravenn Haynes on December 5, 2017.

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