editorial: Poetry Is Not a Luxury

zamantungwa | September 11th, 2013 | current issue, editorial | No Comments

Did Audre know when she was writing Poetry is Not a Luxury that she’d be speaking to, about and through women like Tereska Muishond, Ayabulela Tutuse, Morula wa Kutukgolo, Mandy Mitchell, Monique Barnard, Saurell Boyers… Women for whom poetry has been a way to write themselves into the light. A way to keep from leaping off the high building, or cutting a line through their wrists, or drowning in the drudgery of life. Poetry has kept many women together, helped them find their lost souls, mend broken seams and collect the scattered pieces of their many selves.

Did Audre know that she’d be writing us inside out?

I guess she knew herself. And that’s why many of us can read it, see ourselves and be inspired. Because she wasn’t writing outside in, or bearing down the would-be-reader claiming to be all knowing. And by writing her authentic self, she reached into us. That is what great writing does. It illuminates one to oneself. Let’s you discover your own truth without making any promises.

Audre says “this is poetry as illumination for it is through this poetry that we give name to those ideas which are – until the poem – nameless and formless, about to be birthed but already felt.”

Poetry has allowed many poets to write themselves into clarity. Write their way into understanding. Even if others find poetry difficult to understand, at least, writers have found a way to understand themselves.

The women featured in this edition have done exactly that. Found their way in and out of poetry. They write from inside out. They don’t hold back, I don’t believe they even know how to hold back. But if they do it’s only because they are still seeking, learning, growing in understanding the self and the other. Learning even that the other is an aspect of the self.

These poets move you and I out of our comforts and into the mirror facing our shattered selves, peeling back our facades to reveal that buried spirit. Through their poetry we learn to see better, hear clearly and then set off on our own journey’s of seeking.

And none of this is ever as simple as picking up a pen, or sitting in front of a typewriter or computer to string some words together. This kind of poetry isn’t just about painting pretty pictures when a lot of ugly exists. It’s bare, unburdened, frightening with all its bleeding that, sometimes, it doesn’t seem like the poet could possibly live light through this. Even the poets themselves might think they will lose it. This is why this poetry isn’t a luxury.

“It is a vital necessity of our existence,” Audre writes.

This edition, features selected poetry from our online edition, written by women. It is the “Poetry Potion way” of saluting women writers whose work inspires us. In South Africa, August is Woman’s Month and September is Heritage month. I hope that by looking at these poems and poets through the Audre Lorde lens, we can celebrate these women as well as ourselves.

Woman, I celebrate you.

Pick your pride off of the ground
Dust the dirt off of your pride
Lift up your chin
Put your pride back inside you
Don’t you worry ‘bout a thang
Throw your dirty, raggy, heavy bag away
Wash the dust off of your feet
Go on, you’ll make it right…



editor & publisher

poetry-is-not-a-luxuryThis the third print quarterly from Poetry Potion. Inspired by Audre Lorde’s essay, this edition is themed “Poetry Is Not A Luxury

features: poet profile – Tereska Muishond who talks about how writing had affected her life positively and about her award winning chorepoem Te Veel Vir ‘n Coloured Girl.

poetry: Fasaha Mshairi, Mandy Mitchell, Ayabulela Tutuse, Saurell Boyers, Morula wa Kutukgolo, Monique Barnard

published in print quarterly number three Poetry Is Not a Luxury

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