Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

Reader 1

Warren Liu

Reader 2

Michelle Decker

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Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2017 Rachel A Miller-Haughton

Abstract

This paper discusses the poetry of Audre Lorde and Natasha Trethewey, and the ways in which they bring to attention the often-silenced histories of African American females. Through close readings of Lorde’s poems “Call” and “Coal,” and Trethewey’s “Three Photographs,” these histories are brought to the present with the framework of the words “call” and “re-call.” The paper explores the ways in which Lorde creates a new mythology for understanding her identity as “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” in her innovative, intersectional feminist poetry. This is used as the framework for understanding modern poets like Trethewey, whose identity as a biracial black woman from the American South colors her lyric, more formal work. Lorde uses the vocal, oral tradition of calling as Trethewey relies on visual, gaze-focused recall. Recall is memory and re-call means bringing the hidden past into the future. The paper concludes by saying that all black female writers may participate in their own ways of calling out the truth and remembering what should be forgotten.