Norms, Myths, and Vulnerability: Audre Lorde’s Reconstruction of Self in “125th Street and Abomey”


  • Julia Machtenberg Ruhr-University Bochum



Vulnerability, Audre Lorde, West African Cosmology, Abomey, Intersubjectivity, Mythical Norm, American Poetry


In her poetry collection The Black Unicorn“ (1987), Audre Lorde shows the ways in which those who do not comply to the normative ideals of her contemporary US culture are especially vulnerable to societal marginalization and violence. Analyzing Lorde’s reconstruction of vulnerability in her poem “125th Street and Abomey,” this paper argues that the poet’s drawing from West African cosmology constitutes one method through which Lorde reconstructs her speaker’s vulnerable socio-cultural position as a potential site for transformative processes of intersubjective self-(re)formation.“

Author Biography

Julia Machtenberg, Ruhr-University Bochum

Julia Machtenberg is a PhD student at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB). Julia received their BA in German and Anglophone Studies from the Universität Duisburg-Essen in 2017 and their MA in English and American Studies from the RUB in 2020. Currently, Julia is working on their PhD project with the working title “Vulnerability in US-American Poetry.” Next to vulnerability and trauma studies, their research interests include gender and queer studies.




How to Cite

Machtenberg, Julia. “Norms, Myths, and Vulnerability: Audre Lorde’s Reconstruction of Self in ‘125th Street and Abomey’”. Current Objectives of Postgraduate American Studies, vol. 24, no. 1, Aug. 2023, pp. 9-20, doi:10.5283/copas.374.