Volume 30, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2010
Christiana Z. Peppard
Poetry, Ethics, and the Legacy of Pauli Murray
PAULI MURRAY (D. 1985) WAS AN ACTIVIST, LAWYER, AND PRIEST WHOSE AVocation was writing. In this essay I first contextualize Murray's life and works, and I analyze her poetry and ethical vision (informed also by her prose). I focus on three themes in her poetry: race and interlocking oppressions, the "dream" of America and historiography, and the creative ethical power of productive anger. I engage womanist scholarship as a conversation partner throughout the essay. Moving inductively from my analysis of Murray's poetry, I offer several constructive suggestions about the role and heuristic of poetry in contemporary theological and social ethics.