Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

About Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde, born Audrey Geraldine Lorde (New York, February 18, 1934 - Saint Croix, November 17, 1992), was an African-American poet and writer. Her poems were published in numerous American and international periodicals and journals. Her first collection of poems was published in 1968, The First Cities which was also the first of her eleven collections of poems. That same year she left her position as head librarian of the Town School Library in New York and participated as a teacher in a poetry workshop at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, thus witnessing firsthand the deep racial tensions in the Southern States. Later she taught at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Hunter College.
From a Land Where Other People Live, her third volume of poetry published in 1973, won numerous awards and earned the National Book Award. In this text she deals with issues concerning both identity and the universal issues of the female world. The next work, New York Head Shop and Museum (1975) is an overtly political text. With the publication of Coal in 1976, her works were able to reach a wider audience. The following text The Black Unicorn (1978) in which she explores the African cultural heritage, is considered by many critics to be one of her most brilliant literary works.
Lorde was already an established poet and writer when she published Zami: A New Spelling of My Name in 1982, notably she was known for personally participating in the struggles in favor of African American women, for her ideas on feminism and lesbianism and for her long period of academic activity as a teacher. In Burst of Light (1989), a collection of essays that won the American Book Awards, she described her latest battle against cancer, which has now also extended to the liver. At this point she decided not to undergo any more surgical treatments, but to start an alternative therapy. She battled cancer over a decade and spent the last few years of her life in the US Virgin Islands.
In 1991 she was named Poet Laureate of the City of New York and shortly thereafter she finished her 10th book of poetry entitled The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance. She died the following year.

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