Thursday, 29 June 2017

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

28 comments:

  1. If I ever come across this book I will definitely pick it up!

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  2. Her poetry sounds so complex yet so unique and relatable! I was looking for some poetry recommendations so thanks for posting! :) Have you read Milk and honey!? It's such an amazing poetry book! <3
    Haniya
    booknauthors.blogspot.com

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    1. It really is everything you said. Please read this one! I haven't read Milk and Honey yet but I have heard so much about it that one that I have it on my TBR!

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  3. Wow, The Black Unicorn sounds like a beautiful book. And I adore the way you so passionately reviewed it. I'm sold, tbh. Looking forward to reading this.

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    1. I couldn't help but be passionate about something so wonderful ^.^ Hope you enjoy it!

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  4. This sounds incredible! I'm adding it to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing Olivia!

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    1. Noelia, I know you will be able to appreciate this one <3

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  5. Great review Olivia! I am glad you enjoyed it!
    As you know I don't usually read poetry but the little snippets you shared has made me want to check it out.
    I will definitely keep an eye out for it. :)

    Dinh @ Arlene's Book Club

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    1. It has some beautiful quotes to keep hold of for hard times or the future ;)

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  6. Now, that's the kind of book I'm looking for.

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    1. Oh, I hope I can finish this series right now so I can start on a new book and add this to my ever growing list. Haha. I'm a slacker with reading. You're an inspiration!

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    2. Everyone reads at their own pace :)

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  7. sounds very sweet and attractive through your review!

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  8. I am not really much of a poetry fan but this does sound great. I love all of the wonderful photos you took for this review!

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    1. I am glad you like them. Thank you, Carole x

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  9. I'm generally not a huge fan of poetry (and don't seek it out on my own, outside of an academic setting), but I'm going to have to give this one a try! Great review!

    Also, I tagged you in my original Towering TBR Tag :)
    https://brewingupbooks.wordpress.com/2017/07/03/the-towering-tbr-tag/

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    1. I feel honored that you will give this one a go! Thanks for the tag x

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  10. I don't think I've ever read a poetry collection, let alone reviewed one. I imagine it would be different been trying to review a novel. But you've made this book sound really good! Both the messages and the writing. I feel like repetition can be a really powerful tool in all kinds of writing. And of course I love metaphors ;-)

    Also, this is unrelated, but your plate of fruit looks really delicious and now I want it.

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    1. It's quite different trying to review one. But you should definitely try reading one! Lorde's style is unparalleled to anything else and so beautiful. Hehehe, I am glad you like it! It made for a nice breakfast that morning ^.^

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  11. Love Audre Lord! I also don't read a lot of poetry, so I'm glad you enjoyed this!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

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  12. I'm becoming more concern and aware of people struggling around the world. This will be the year I will help humanitarian causes around the world.

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    1. There's a lot of people who need help. I am so glad to hear it, and I hope you will also gain experiences that are meaningful to you while doing so, Lonna.

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