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Poems are Not a Luxury: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich

at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research - West Village

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West Village, Manhattan
208 West 13th Street #210
Btwn 7th & Greenwich Avenues
New York, New York 10011
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Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 21 and older
Average Class Size: 14
Teacher: Amy Schiller

What you'll learn in this poetry class:

“Poetry is liberative language,” wrote Adrienne Rich. “Poems are not a luxury,” argued Audre Lorde. How can we understand these claims about the intersection of poetry and politics? This course delves into the lives and works of Rich and Lorde, as we explore their respective poetic oeuvres. To Rich and Lorde, liberation was a through-line of experience between eros, politics, and language. And both express in their works understandings of gender, sexuality, and the body. In a famous interview between the two writers, they discuss poetry as the language of the dark, the feminine, the unconscious; we will explore this tendency in their work and the ways in which their respective renderings of the feminine influenced the trajectory of feminist theory and politics in the mid and late-20th century. Their conversations with one another, and treatments of their legacies by Claudia Rankine, Lisa L. Moore, Marilyn Hacker and others, will inform our investigation of poetry as part of feminist theory. How do Rich and Lorde navigate antiracism and intersectionality among allies with different race and class affiliations? How does poetic form contribute to their political practice? Readings will include Diving Into The WreckThe Fact of a DoorframeUses of the EroticSister Outsider, and the Art of the Possible, among others.

There *is* no physical Brooklyn Institute. We hold our classes all over (thus far) Brooklyn and Manhattan, in alternative spaces ranging from the back rooms of bars to bookstores to spaces in cultural centers, including the Center for Jewish History, the Goethe-Institut, and the Barnard Center for Research on Women. We can (and do) turn any space into a classroom. You will be notified of the exact location when you register for a class.

Instructors will contact students approximately one week prior to the first class with reading assignments and details about the course location. 

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Refund Policy
Upon request, we will refund the entire cost of a class up until 1 week before its start date. Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to a 75% refund. After the first class: 50%. After the second: 25%. No refunds will be given after the third class.


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Reviews of Classes at Brooklyn Institute for Social Research (19)

School: Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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