Audre Lorde, a renowned poet and author, used her writing to amplify the experience of her multifaceted identity as a Black lesbian woman, mother and cancer sufferer.
Born in 1934 to Grenadian immigrants, she began her poetic journey as a young teenager, resulting in her first professional publication in Seventeen magazine.
Lorde became a prominent advocate in the women’s and LGBTQ rights movements, her writings reflecting her diverse personal experiences and activism.
After earning her degrees, she began publishing her poetry and engaging in the civil rights, antiwar and women’s liberation movements.
Her anthologies addressed political themes and gave authentic portrayals of queer sexuality and experience.
Lorde also explored the intersections of race, gender and class and her diagnosis with breast cancer added a unique perspective to her work.
Her numerous awards and honors demonstrate her impact on literature and society.
Lorde passed away in 1992, leaving a lasting legacy through her powerful and inspiring words.
I have compiled the popular quotes by Audre Lorde for you.
Best Audre Lorde Quotes
Anger, used, does not destroy. Hatred does. ~ Audre Lorde.
We are all more blind to what we have than to what we have not. ~ Audre Lorde.
The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. ~ Audre Lorde.
So it is better to speak, remembering we were never meant to survive. ~ Audre Lorde.
Unacknowledged class differences rob women of each others’ energy and creative insight. ~ Audre Lorde.
Silence has never brought us anything of worth. ~ Audre Lorde.
Because the machine will try to grind you into dust anyway, whether or not we speak. ~ Audre Lorde.
You cannot use someone else’s fire. You can only use your own. And in order to do that, you must first be willing to believe that you have it. ~ Audre Lorde.
I cannot hide my anger to spare you guilt, nor hurt feelings, nor answering anger; for to do so insults and trivializes all our efforts. ~ Audre Lorde.
For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. ~ Audre Lorde.
How are you practicing what you preach – whatever you preach, and who is exactly listening? ~ Audre Lorde.
Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge. ~ Audre Lorde.
If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am still learning – how to take joy in all the people I am, how to use all my selves in the service of what I believe, how to accept when I fail and rejoice when I succeed. ~ Audre Lorde.
Top Audre Lorde Quotes
On the cause of silence, each of us draws the face of their own fear – fear of contempt, of censure, or some judgment, or recognition, of challenge, of annihilation. But most of all, I think, we fear the visibility without which we cannot truly live. ~ Audre Lorde.
Within the war we are all waging with the forces of death, subtle and otherwise, conscious or not – I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior. ~ Audre Lorde.
All writers have periods when they stop writing, when they cannot write, and this is always painful and terrible because writing is like breathing… ~ Audre Lorde.
I am on the cusp of change and the curve is shifting fast. ~ Audre Lorde.
Next time, ask: What’s the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. ~ Audre Lorde.
Hatred is a death wish for the hated, not a life wish for anything else. ~ Audre Lorde.
It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences. ~ Audre Lorde.
I write for those women who do not speak, for those who do not have a voice because they were so terrified, because we are taught to respect fear more than ourselves. We’ve been taught that silence would save us, but it won’t. ~ Audre Lorde.
Women are powerful and dangerous. ~ Audre Lorde.
The sharing of joy, whether physical, emotional, psychic, or intellectual, forms a bridge between the sharers which can be the basis for understanding much of what is not shared between them, and lessens the threat of their difference. ~ Audre Lorde.
Anger is an appropriate reaction to racist attitudes, as is fury when the actions arising from those attitudes do not change. ~ Audre Lorde.
Famous Audre Lorde Quotes
Even the smallest victory is never to be taken for granted. Each victory must be applauded… ~ Audre Lorde.
We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us, the love of Black women for each other. ~ Audre Lorde.
When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak. ~ Audre Lorde.
In a world of possibility for us all, our personal visions help lay the groundwork for political action. ~ Audre Lorde.
Too often, we pour the energy needed for recognizing and exploring difference into pretending those differences are insurmountable barriers, or that they do not exist at all. ~ Audre Lorde.
Oppression is as American as apple pie. ~ Audre Lorde.
To encourage excellence is to go beyond the encouraged mediocrity of our society. ~ Audre Lorde.
Poetry is not a luxury. ~ Audre Lorde.
Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives. ~ Audre Lorde.
If they cannot love and resist at the same time, they probably will not survive. ~ Audre Lorde.
It is axiomatic that if we do not define ourselves for ourselves, we will be defined by others-for their use and to our detriment. ~ Audre Lorde.
Guilt and defensiveness are bricks in a wall against which we all flounder; they serve none of our futures. ~ Audre Lorde.
We are powerful because we have survived. ~ Audre Lorde.
Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me. ~ Audre Lorde.
The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot. ~ Audre Lorde.
When we define ourselves, when I define myself, the place in which I am like you and the place in which I am not like you, I’m not excluding you from the joining – I’m broadening the joining. ~ Audre Lorde.
The erotic is a measure between the beginnings of our sense of self and the chaos of our strongest feelings. ~ Audre Lorde.
It is not the destiny of Black America to repeat white America’s mistakes. But we will, if we mistake the trappings of success in a sick society for the signs of a meaningful life. ~ Audre Lorde.
Life is very short and what we have to do must be done in the now. ~ Audre Lorde.
Popular Audre Lorde Quotes
When you reach out and touch other human beings, it doesn’t matter whether you call it therapy or teaching or poetry. ~ Audre Lorde.
There are many kinds of power, used and unused, acknowledged or otherwise. ~ Audre Lorde.
The true focus of revolutionary change is never merely the oppressive situations that we seek to escape, but that piece of the oppressor which is planted deep within each of us. ~ Audre Lorde.
Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before. ~ Audre Lorde.
The transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation. ~ Audre Lorde.
Those of us forged in the crucibles of difference know that survival is not an academic skill. ~ Audre Lorde.
We must recognize and nurture the creative parts of each other without always understanding what will be created. ~ Audre Lorde.
For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscovered. ~ Audre Lorde.
We have too often been expected to speak all things to all people and speak everyone else’s position but our own. ~ Audre Lorde.
In our work and in our living, we must recognize that difference is a reason for celebration and growth, rather than a reason for destruction. ~ Audre Lorde.
Revolution is not a one time event. ~ Audre Lorde.
Tomorrow belongs to those of us who conceive of it as belonging to everyone; who lend the best of ourselves to it, and with joy. ~ Audre Lorde.
Anger is loaded with information and energy. ~ Audre Lorde.
My fullest concentration of energy is available to me only when I integrate all the parts of who I am, openly, allowing power from particular sources of my living to flow back and forth freely through all my different selves, without the restriction of externally imposed definition. ~ Audre Lorde.
What I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? ~ Audre Lorde.
Without community, there is no liberation. ~ Audre Lorde.
Institutionalized rejection of difference is an absolute necessity in a profit economy which needs outsiders as surplus people. ~ Audre Lorde.
Wherever the bird with no feet flew, she found trees with no limbs. ~ Audre Lorde.
My anger has meant pain to me but it has also meant survival, and before I give it up I’m going to be sure that there is something at least as powerful to replace it on the road to clarity. ~ Audre Lorde.
What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am a bleak heroism of words that refuse to be buried alive with the liars. ~ Audre Lorde.
Pain is important: how we evade it, how we succumb to it, how we deal with it, how we transcend it. ~ Audre Lorde.
Art is not living. It is the use of living. ~ Audre Lorde.
Unique Audre Lorde Quotes
The fear that we cannot grow beyond whatever distortions we may find within ourselves keeps us docile and loyal and obedient, externally defined, and leads us to accept many facets of our oppression as women. ~ Audre Lorde.
We are all in the process of becoming. ~ Audre Lorde.
We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal. I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way. ~ Audre Lorde.
Oppressed peoples are always being asked to stretch a little more, to bridge the gap between blindness and humanity. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own. ~ Audre Lorde.
Self-care is not about self-indulgence, it is about self-preservation. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am a reflection of my mother’s secret poetry as well as of her hidden angers. ~ Audre Lorde.
There is no Hierarchy of Oppressions. ~ Audre Lorde.
I have no creative use for guilt, yours or my own. Guilt is only another way of avoiding informed action, of buying time out of the pressing need to make clear choices, out of the approaching storm that can feed the earth as well as bend the trees. ~ Audre Lorde.
I have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. ~ Audre Lorde.
Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing. ~ Audre Lorde.
Your silence will not protect you. ~ Audre Lorde.
There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives. ~ Audre Lorde.
You are the one that you are looking for. ~ Audre Lorde.
I have died too many deaths that were not mine. ~ Audre Lorde.
Divide and conquer must become define and empower. ~ Audre Lorde.
Inspirational Audre Lorde Quotes
There are no new ideas. There are only new ways of making them felt. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am not only a casualty, I am also a warrior. ~ Audre Lorde.
If you can’t change reality, change your perceptions of it. ~ Audre Lorde.
When I dare to be powerful – to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am a Black Lesbian Feminist Warrior Poet Mother, stronger for all my identities, and I am indivisible. ~ Audre Lorde.
Our visions begin with our desires. ~ Audre Lorde.
I was going to die, if not sooner, then later, whether or not I had ever spoken to myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you. ~ Audre Lorde.
Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever. ~ Audre Lorde.
Unity implies the coming together of elements which are, to begin with, varied and diverse in their particular natures. ~ Audre Lorde.
Every Black woman in America lives her life somewhere along a wide curve of ancient and unexpressed angers. ~ Audre Lorde.
We do not have to suffer the waste of an amnesia that robs us of the lessons of the past rather than permit us to read them with pride as well as deep understanding. ~ Audre Lorde.
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare. ~ Audre Lorde.
In the recognition of loving lies the answer to despair. ~ Audre Lorde.
The erotic has often been misnamed by men and used against women. It has been made into the confused, the trivial, the psychotic, the plasticized sensation. ~ Audre Lorde.
You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. ~ Audre Lorde.
There’s always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself – whether it’s Black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc. because that’s the piece that they need to key in to. They want to dismiss everything else. ~ Audre Lorde.
Thoughtful Audre Lorde Quotes
I realize that if I wait until I am no longer afraid to act, write, speak, be, I’ll be sending messages on a Ouija board, cryptic complaints from the other side. ~ Audre Lorde.
What woman here is so enamored of her own oppression that she cannot see her heel print upon another woman’s face? ~ Audre Lorde.
I am my best work – a series of road maps, reports, recipes, doodles, and prayers from the front lines. ~ Audre Lorde.
Learning not to crumple before these uncertainties fuels my resolve to print myself upon the texture of each day fully rather than forever. ~ Audre Lorde.
I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival. ~ Audre Lorde.
I want to live the rest of my life, however long or short, with as much sweetness as I can decently manage, loving all the people I love, and doing as much as I can of the work I still have to do. ~ Audre Lorde.
The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never allow us to bring about genuine change. ~ Audre Lorde.
Battling racism and battling heterosexism and battling apartheid share the same urgency inside me as battling cancer. ~ Audre Lorde.
The love expressed between women is particular and powerful because we have had to love in order to live; love has been our survival. ~ Audre Lorde.
Inspiring Audre Lorde Quotes
If I cannot air this pain and alter it, I will surely die of it. That’s the beginning of social protest. ~ Audre Lorde.
I am deliberate and afraid of nothing. ~ Audre Lorde.
The fact that we are here and that I speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not difference which immobilizes us, but silence. And there are so many silences to be broken. ~ Audre Lorde.
I started writing because I had a need inside of me to create something that was not there. ~ Audre Lorde.
So these were the 112 top Audre Lorde quotes on community, love, feminism, intersectionality that are truly inspiring for activists.