“charged and waiting”: Audre Lorde’s “Recreation”

Audre Lorde Collected WorksAudre Lorde’s poem “Recreation” is simultaneously about sex and writing — the act of love and the act of creating. The title itself suggests doubleness: “recreation” in the sense of play (as in, Parks and) and “recreation” as in the repeated act of creating.

Reciprocity is one of the poem’s themes, as the poet/lover both gives to and takes from writing and her lover. At the same time, writing and sex are reciprocal, too:

moving through our word countries
my body
writes into your flesh
the poem
you make of me.

One of the many things I like about this poem is its specificity; it doesn’t claim a universal love, or generalize about pleasure. It’s about a particular speaker in a particular moment, which is deliberate, given Lorde’s views on the relationships among power, creativity, and the erotic.

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