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Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics

Volume 30, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2010

Christiana Z. Peppard
Pages 21-43
DOI: 10.5840/jsce201030129

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.

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