Graduation Year


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Michelle Decker

Reader 2

Warren Liu

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© 2019 Lauren V Koenig


This thesis advances an understanding of the ontological impact of Western conceptions of sexuality guided by a model of reparative reading as outlined by Eve Kosofosky Sedgwick. Rather than multiply and magnify anti-patriarchal invective, I use deconstructive techniques as a means of analyzing selections from the poetry of Audre Lorde (including “Bloodbirth,” “Making it,” “Pirouette,” and “Therapy”) in order to explore how a consideration of lesbian sexuality can inform an understanding of the more widespread conflation between writing, creation, and birth of the self.

The investigation centers on a variety of paradoxes encountered in the felt sense-oriented language of desire employed by Lorde, and how that language expresses consciousness spatially, from conflation of metaphysical sight and perception to liminal boundaries as manifested in the female body. Special attention is paid to the emotive nature of reading-writing and its inherent transgressive powers, including how bodily perception has the power to overthrow myths of individualized and autonomous rebirth.

The methods of this thesis depart from traditional psychoanalytic and Lacanian views of desire, instead focusing on regenerative and reparative models of selfhood, while taking special care to address the limitations of white and cisgender feminism. In examining how Lorde employs linguistic and structural elements in expressing desire, this thesis intends to explore and construct a resonance of the motherhood of women-loving-women, and to outline the potential impact of a transgressive envisioning of motherhood on analytical modes of reading.