Audre Lorde was born in New York City on February 18, 1934 to Linda Belmar and Frederick Byron Lorde, immigrants from Grenada. She wrote her first poem when she was in the eighth grade. After graduating from Hunter College in New York with a B.A. in 1959, Lorde earned a master’s degree in library science at Columbia University in 1961. After working several years as a librarian, during which time she married and gave birth to her two children, Lorde received a National Endowments for the Arts grant in 1968 and became poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. There she met Frances Louise Clayton, who eventually became her partner of nineteen years. Lorde published her first volume of poetry, The First Cities, in 1968. In 1978 she became a professor of English, first at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, and later at Hunter College.
Both her poetry and prose have received numerous honors, including nominations for the National Book Award for From a Land Where Other People Live in 1974, the American Library Association’s Gay Caucus Book of the Year Award for The Cancer Journals in 1981, the Manhattan Borough President’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1988, and the American Book Award for A Burst of Light in 1989. In October of 1990, Lorde’s work and life were celebrated by over a thousand women attending the “I Am Your Sister” conference in Boston.
Audre Lorde died of cancer in November 1992 at the age of 58
The Cancer Journals
Originally published in 1980, Audre Lorde's The Cancer Journals offers a profoundly feminist analysis of her experience with breast cancer and a modified radical mastectomy. Moving between journal entry, memoir, and exposition, Lorde fuses the personal and political and refuses the silencing and invisibility that she experienced both as a woman facing her own death and as a woman coping with the loss of her breast.
This collection features over 80 essays from two decades of news, analysis, interviews, reviews, and letters from one of the nation's oldest and largest women's newspapers, Sojourner: The Women's Forum. These articles are a microcosm of the lively and committed debates around some of the key issues of second-wave feminism: identity politics, economic injustice, politics of the family, reproductive freedom, women's health, sex and sexuality, violence against women, and building alliances. This anthology is a must for everyone interested in a wide-ranging overview of the contemporary U.S. feminist movement and an in-depth analysis of the issues.
The 20th Century
The story of U.S. literature in the twentieth century is in many ways the story of the hard won emergence of women's voices—all kinds of women's voices—into print. The Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers, Volume Two is an unprecedented effort to capture, in all its scope and variety, the extraordinary results of that florescence.
PRAISE FOR THE CANCER JOURNALS
Grief, terror, courage, the passion for survival and far more than survival, are here in the personal and political searchings of a great poet. Lorde is the Amazon warrior who knows how to tell the tale of battle: what happened, and why, what are the weapons, and who are the comrades she found. More than this, her book offers women a new and deeply feminist challenge.
Audre Lorde's The Cancer Journals has helped me more than I can say. It has taken away some of my fear of cancer, my fear of incompleteness, my fear of difference. This book teaches me that with one breast or none, I am still me. That the sum total of me is infinitely greater than the number of my breasts.