Poetry Analysis

The poem that I have selected is “Who Said It Was SImple” by Audre Lorde. This was actually the first poem I read out of those that were provided on blackboard, because the title initially grabbed my attention. I was interested by the title because I think of myself as an overthinker who tends to make life more complicated than it already is, but the title made me feel as though someone was telling me that was normal. The opening three liners also spoke to me very directly. “There are so many roots to the tree of anger that sometimes the branches shatter before they bear”, (Lorde Who said it was simple by Audre Lorde). These lines resonated with me and my life experience because I felt as though they were saying that there are countless reasons to be angry or upset, to a point where they lose their merit. 

The poem would most likely be accepted as Lorde highlighting the hypocrisy in the feminist movement at the time, in that they are fighting for liberation and equal rights, yet the movement is still very racist. They are only fighting for specific freedoms for specific people, and are contradicting the nature of their own movement by doing so. She states, “discussing the problematic girls they hire to make them free… and the ladies neither notice nor reject the slighter pleasures of their slavery”,  (Lorde Who said it was simple by Audre Lorde). She also explains later in the poem that she “sees causes both in color as well as sex” meaning that there are issues in equality with both aspects of humanity that need to be fixed, however one is being completely neglected, and she exists as a victim of both. 

This Poem by Lorde is a free verse poem. Something that is very noticeable in the structure of the poem is that there are 3 stanzas, of which the first and last are only 3 lines each, while the second stanza is 12. This structure breaks the poem up in a very distinct way which I believe has a specific purpose behind it.

I feel that this structure provides emphasis on the beginning and ending of the poem more impactful, the shorter stanza provides emphasis on the messages within it, as well as prevents the point from being diluted with words. Additionally I believe this structure gives the poem a sense of a beginning, middle and end. The first stanza feels like the introductory idea, the middle being the explanation and context, and the final stanza being the conclusion/major takeaway from the author. The length of each line starts to get shorter towards the end of the poem as well, which I believe further perpetuates the impact. 

The other poem I chose to analyze by Adure Lorde is named “Coal”. Coal is a lyric poem with racial commentary about black people and how they are viewed by whites.It is a three stanza poem that also has a beginning, middle and end feeling to it due to its structure. This poem however is not a story, nor does it have a particular setting. 

There are some overlapping ideas and techniques used in both poems. Both pieces include a racial commentary about the treatment of black in America. Lorde shows this by using coal and its black color to represent black people. Lorde states,  “As a diamond comes into a knot of flame I am black because I come from the earth’s inside Take my word for jewel in your open light”  (Lorde Coal by Audre Lorde). The reference to earth’s inside is that coal is black and comes from the earth, and the diamond is the result of coal when put under immense pressure. The structure of this poem is also identical to “Who Said It Was Easy’, in that it is only 3 stanzas, of which the first and last are significantly shorter than the middle. 

I feel as though Lorde had an internal mission that she was carrying out through her poetry to highlight the humanity and greatness of black people. In both the poems that I chose to analyze She had highlighted how black people in society are often neglected, even by those who claim to believe in equal rights. She attempts to show the humanity of people of color in the way she describes herself and others. Her poems also tend to open and end with her major points. They are often short and concise while grabbing your attention and driving home her point in a meaningful way. Her middle stanzas seem to always tell some sort of story or perspective to provide context for how she is thinking, why, and what she is choosing to bring attention to.

I find Lorde’s poems to be rather emotional. They invoke a feeling of sadness and empathy within me because I feel I am peering into the mind of a good person who wants to be understood and accepted for what she is, in a world that is far too ignorant to do so. I do not personally share the struggles that people of color have and continue to experience, however I believe everyone at some point in their life has experienced what it is like to feel like an outcast. To feel like no matter what you do sometimes people will just not like you, or even tolerate you and it is a terrible feeling. Her experience is an extreme version of this and the way she chooses to articulate it I find to be very elegant and graceful.

Leave a Reply