Use Audre Lorde's "Poetry is Not a Luxury" and T. de Lauretis's "Desire in Narrative" to read May Sarton's poem "The Muse as Medusa." Expand May Sarton's project of remaking/retaking the gaze by examining what Audre Lorde and T. de Lauretis understand about the power of looking.
The power of looking resides in our agency. The supremacy of seeing; being seen' gives a sense of self, which enables us to encompass our power and identity as an individual. As humans, we obsess about how we look; our conventional femininity. All bodies are heavily disciplined and concerned of our individuality by others' gazes. The gaze allows us to be independent and create an image of ourselves, because we have been seen.' Medusa's agency is related to her power, which projects her superior image of femininity. Attaining someone's power of looking at your art, such as poetry and cinema, acknowledges their sense of being. Artists gain satisfaction by perceiving things in a different perspective. The worst thing for an artist is to be abandoned by their inspiration. Art and woman are comparable, because both require the capacity to be looked at.' Medusa, women's feminist image, is the demonic form of the Muse, who empowers the significance of the artists.
In "The Muse as Medusa," May Sarton portrays that the worst occurrence of a poet is the desertion of her muse. A Muse is a personified inspiration or a source of an artist's motivation. Sarton's gaze is focused on Medusa and not the reader throughout the stanzas. She is grateful for Medusa's inspiration that allowed her to perceive creatively: "I turn your face around! It is my face./ That frozen rage is what I must explore-/ Oh secret, self-enclosed, and ravaged place!/ This is the gift I thank Medusa for" (Sarton 24-28). Sarton thanks Medusa for this poem and explains that poetry is an irreplaceable love. In connection, Audre Lorde expands this notion and depicts that poetry is a necessity for survival....
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