Roxanne Naseem Rashedi teases out transgression and empowerment in the poetry of Clifton and Lorde in “Deconstructing the Erotic and Raced Body”.
In “Poetry Is Not a Luxury,” Lorde (2007) argues that the feminine erotic is accessible through poetry. Poetry accesses a place that is “dark…ancient and deep” (37). In “The Laugh of the Medusa,” Hélène Cixous (1976) argues that feminine writing “will always surpass the discourse that regulates the phallocentric system.” Lorde describes these “phallocentric systems” as structures of self-abnegation that suppress the feminine voice (2007, 39). Both women believe that writing reclaims that “deep” voice.
Lorde’s (2003) “Coal” taps into Cixous’s écriture feminine. “I am Black because I come from the earth's inside / now take my word for jewel in the open light.” FOR THE FULL ESSAY AND ALL THE OTHERS, GET THE ANTHOLOGY HERE: