To celebrate the publication: Audre Lorde - Dream of Europe: selected seminars and interviews: 1984 -1992 (Kenning Editions, 2020), de Appel is organising a close reading group starting late September, in order to collectively read and give voice to Lorde’s work as assembled in this book. This close reading group will consist of seven separate readings. For each reading we will be joined by a guest reader who has a connection with Lorde's work, and who will read along with the group for two hours. We are happy to announce that during the seven readings we will be joined by the following guest readers: Philomena Essed, Nancy Jouwe, Mayra A. Rodriguez Castro, Pamela Sneed, Sayonara Stutgard, Shishani Vranckx and Gloria Wekker.

*Due to the new Covid safety measures we have moved Dream of Europe reading group to participation via Zoom only.*

Sunday November 1st

Reading #7: I can show you baby enough love to break your heart forever - with Mayra A. Rodriguez Castro

Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe — Reading Group #7
I can show you baby enough love to break your heart forever
with Mayra A. Rodriguez Castro
Sunday November 1st, 19:00–21:00 (CET)

This Sunday, the final segment of the book will be read by its editor, the poet and translator Mayra A. Rodriguez Castro. It includes a keynote entitled “Dream of Europe” delivered by Lorde at a writers’ conference at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 1988. The title for this final reading group is chosen from Castro’s lucid afterword: a quote from the poem “Song for Baby-O, Unborn” by Diane di Prima, who passed away last Sunday and who was first to publish Audre Lorde’s writing (Audre Lorde’s book The First Cities was published by Diane di Prima's Poets Press in 1968).

Mayra A. Rodriquez Castro is a Colombian poet and translator and currently also a lecturer at Naropa University in Colorado, where she is completing her Masters in Poetics as the 2019 recipient of the Ann Waldman Fellowship. In 2017 she was awarded the John F. Kennedy Research Grant that enabled her work with Audre Lorde’s archives at the Freie Universität Berlin and that led to the publication of Dream of Europe with Kenning Editions earlier this year. Interviewed about her book by Maria Theresia Starzmann of Social Text, she clarifies: “Dream of Europe grew from a love of poetry—poetry not only as a form of diction, but a tool for understanding, naming, and organising experience. The selections in the book were included upon this premise. The book is composed of interviews, readings, and university seminars (fully transcribed from audio), as well as further documents. You use the word appraisal, a term that circulates widely in archival contexts to imply assessments of value. But I was more interested in resisting preconceived notions of Audre Lorde, that is, in resisting adulations”.

Sunday 25 October 16:00-18:00

Reading #6: The Dream of Europe - with Pamela Sneed

Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe - Reading Group #6
The Dream of Europe
with Pamela Sneed
Sunday October 25th, 16:00-18:00 (CET)

For the sixth installment of our Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe reading group, we will be joined by artist Pamela Sneed, who will guide us through some of Audre Lorde's later poetry readings from 1990 through 1992 in Germany.

Pamela Sneed is a New York-based poet, writer, performer and visual artist, author of Funeral Diva, published with City Lights (San Francisco) in Fall 2020, as well as Imagine Being More Afraid of Freedom than Slavery, KONG and Other Works, Sweet Dreams and two chaplets, Gift by Belladonna and Black Panther. She is in the online faculty of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC)'s low-residency MFA teaching Human Rights and Writing Art and has also been a Visiting Artist at SAIC in the program for 4 consecutive years. She has performed at the Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Poetry Project , MCA, The High Line, New Museum and Toronto Biennale. She delivered the closing keynote for Artist, Designers, Citizens Conference/a North American component of the Venice Biennale at SAIC. She appears in Nikki Giovanni’s, The 100 Best African American Poems. In 2018, she was nominated for two PushCart Prizes in poetry.

Sunday 18 October 19:00-21:00

Reading #5: The Force of the Erotic - with Philomena Essed

*Due to the increased COVID-19 safety measures we have moved the Dream of Europe reading group to participation via Zoom only.*

For The Force of the Erotic* guest reader Philomena Essed will guide us through the fifth reading group of Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe. We will read pages 193 to 233, consisting of reading by Audre Lorde from the period 1984 - 1992, during her stay in Berlin. *Audre Lorde defines the erotic as a profound source of power, housed in the spiritual realm of women's existence.

Philomena Essed is professor of Critical Race, Gender and Leadership Studies at Antioch University’s Graduate School of Leadership and Change and Affiliated Researcher at the University of Utrecht’s, Gender Graduate Program. She holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam (cum laude, 1990) and Honorary Doctorate degrees from the University of Pretoria (2011) and Umeå University (2015). In 2011 The Queen of the Netherlands honored her with a Knighthood.
Well known for introducing the concepts of everyday racism and gendered racism, she also pioneered in developing theory on social and cultural cloning. The now classical 1984 book (in Dutch) Alledaags Racisme (English version, Everyday Racism, 1990) has been republished in 2018 with additional chapters.
Philomena also joined us at de Appel last year for one of our Historic Encounters, as part of the exhibition Guess Who's Coming for Dinner Too? by Patricia Kaersenhout.

Sunday 11 October, 16:00 - 18:00

Reading #4: A Woman Speaks - with Nancy Jouwe

*Due to the increased COVID-19 safety measures we have moved the Dream of Europe reading group to participation via Zoom only.*

In A Woman Speaks, our fourth reading group for Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe, we return this time with Nancy Jouwe as our guest reader. This time, we will read pages 165 t/m 192, consisting of a large section of Audre Lorde's readings in Berlin from 1984 until 1992. In these readings Lorde reads her own poetry, and discusses subjects such as queerness, female relationships and women as warriors.

Nancy Jouwe (b. 1967) is a cultural historian, lecturer, researcher, public speaker and one of the co-founders of Framer Framed. She has also been active in the NGO sector as a manager, director and cultural producer, with a focus on intersectionality, colonial history, arts, heritage and intercultural dialogue since 1993.

As an activist Nancy Jouwe has been involved in with local squatters and transnational queer, indigenous, and women’s movements, incl. in SE Asia and the South Pacific since the 80s and 90s. She comes from a family of political refugees that fled Indonesia in the beginning of the 60s, as her father was a political leader in the Papuan independence movement. She wrote extensively about Papuan issues, including women’s rights and the Papuan diaspora.

Sunday October 4th 16:00-18:00

Reading #3: to the powers that be - with Sayonara Stutgard

*Due to the new Covid safety measures we have moved Dream of Europe reading group to participation via Zoom only.*

In to the powers that be the third reading group of this series, we will read Audre Lorde's Berlin interviews from 1984 through 1989 (pages 117-163). For this reading we welcome Sayonara Stutgard as our guest reader. Sayonara Stutgard is a poet, co-founder of Chaos and editor at Dipsaus.

Sunday 27 September, 16:00 - 18:00

Reading #2: The Struggle is the Ritual - with Shishani Vranckx

In The Struggle is the Ritual, the second session of this reading group, we will read Audre Lorde's 'The Poet as Outsider' seminars from May-June 1984 at the Freie Universität Berlin (pages 75 until 114). The guest reader for this session will be Shishani Vranckx.

Shishani is a talented singer-songwriter loved for her smooth and powerful voice. Her roots are Namibian and Belgian, but she grew up mainly in the Netherlands. In her work she brings these worlds together. Her music is comforting and has a sense of strong social awareness. She is the founder of Miss Catharsis (2019), an all-female group that tells stories of women of color. She is also co-founder of Namibian Tales (2015), an acoustic quartet that explores the musical heritage of Namibia, and co-founder of Shakuar, an eclectic musical duo with vocalist Karima el Fillali. Shishani is nominated voor the Amsterdam Prize for the Arts 2020.

Sunday 20 September, 16:00 - 18:00

Reading #1: Poetry Is Not A Luxury - with Gloria Wekker

Sunday September 20th 2020 16:00-18:00 (CET)

During Poetry is Not a Luxury, the very first session of the reading group, we will introduce the publication while reading the preface, a letter to Audre Lorde from Dagmar Schultz, and transcripts of Black Women's Poetry Seminar, April - July 1984, on pages 9 through 72. The guest reader for this session will be Gloria Wekker.

Gloria Wekker is an Afro-Surinamese Dutch scholar, whose extensive body of work has brought questions of colonialism, race, gender, sexuality and diaspora to the forefront of critical scholarship on the Netherlands and the Dutch Empire. In 1984, she became a founding member of “Sister Outsider”, an Amsterdam-based literary circle for lesbian black women named after Audre Lorde’s famous text by the same name. She has inspired an entire new generation of scholars and activists in both the Netherlands and beyond to take up questions of colonialism and race, and to do so intersectionally.

Please access the PDF here.

The aim of the reading group is to read the collected seminars, readings and interviews that the book brings together, with the focus on the experience of reading and not so much on establishing a theoretical dialogue. The group will lend its voice to the work of Lorde, which will be broadcasted via livestream on the website of de Appel, existing as a live and temporary audiobook (participants will not be visible).

We find it important to facilitate a sense of togetherness in a time of physical distance and acceleration of online production, therefore the sessions will take place on location in the iconic Aula of de Appel, while keeping in consideration the necessary safety measurements. There is room for a select amount participants on location, or remotely via Zoom. Guest readers who are located outside of The Netherlands, or who are unable to travel, are invited to join through Zoom as well. The reading group is meant for active participation. Listening in live to the reading group is possible via the livestream above.

No prior knowledge of Audre Lorde, or poetry for that matter, is mandatory in order to join one, several or all readings. There’s no need to commit to all sessions at once. Each week, we will announce each reading after which you can subscribe, free of cost, as a participant via dreamofeurope [​at​] Please mention whether you will be joining via Zoom or in person. All participants will receive a PDF of the extracts, a hard copy of the book can be purchased in de Appel's bookshop, or here.

More about the publication

As part of De Appel Reads* #12 we presented an excerpt from Audre Lorde: Dream of Europe, selected seminars and interviews: 1984-1992. This publication is edited, with an afterword by poet and translator Mayra A. Rodríguez Castro and includes a preface by Dagmar Schultz, a longtime friend and collaborator of Lorde’s in Berlin. This book was published in Spring 2020 by Kenning Editions and focuses on Lorde’s defense of poetry and her aesthetic persistence, even under the most difficult of circumstances, as she battled cancer and the sickness of systemic racism among other forms of discrimination. Please access the PDF here.

Most of the poetry included in Lorde’s never before published seminars at the Freie Universität in Berlin is rights protected, but you get a sense of the rich contents of this book from transcripts of two key interviews, Lorde’s last poetry reading in Berlin, as well as a speech she gave at a 1988 International Conference of Writers entitled Dream of Europe.

We are grateful to Mayra A. Rodriguez Castro and Patrick F. Durgin of Kenning Editions for sharing this invaluable and timely material.

All this in preparation for the launch of “Dream of Europe” in the Netherlands with esteemed guests Philomena Essed, Gail Lewis, Gloria Wekker and Mayra A. Rodriguez Castro. This gathering will be scheduled when all participants can travel safely to Amsterdam.

*De Appel Reads is a series of publications offered to de Appel email subscribers. It consists of new texts, reprints and the occasional lost gem. These texts relate to current and past projects de Appel is engaged in.