Woman Crush Wednesday: Audre Lorde


Born: February 18th 1934 - November 17th 1992


Originally from: Harlem, NY ​As a woman of color, lesbian, feminist, civil rights advocate, and child born to Caribbean immigrant parents, Audre Lorde certainly felt stigma and derogation throughout her upbringing and adult life. She exposes these topics and her own experience through poetry and essays. Her controlled and rational expression of anger is an element which distinguishes her poetry, and contrasts beautifully with her work regarding the tenderness of motherhood, daughterhood, and unbiased love. Lorde was married for a few brief years and had two children, until she divorced in 1970 and explored her sexuality, later identifying as a lesbian.

Lorde was an extremely educated woman, despite the fact that she was nearsighted to the point of being almost blind, she learned to read and write at the age of four, and took an interest in poetry immediately. She was writing her own poems by the age of twelve, and the first publication to print her work was, of all places, Seventeen Magazine. She went on to study at Hunter College High School, a secondary school for intellectually gifted students, and at the National University Of Mexico (UNAM), a period in her life she said "confirmed her identity on personal and artistic levels as both a lesbian and a poet". Back in New York, she continued her studies at Columbia University and Hunter College. At this time, Lorde was an active member of the LGBTQ community in the Greenwich Village. Lorde belonged to pretty a lot of minorities– she was black, Queer, a lesbian, and a woman– and most her life's work is directly related to intersectionality; many white feminists were angered by Lorde's brand of feminism.

Ahead of her time, she called the gender binary "overly simplistic", and coined the term "The Erotic". According to Lorde, the Erotic (not to be confused with eroticism) is a powerful feminine force of personal and political power within us, saying "The Erotic is a vital and deeply felt resource that rises from the most mysterious parts of the self".

After her publication of The First Cities in 1968, she published Cables to Rage in 1970 and From a Land Where Other People Live just three years later. Although these works were often defined by expression and debate of love, her next volume, New York Headshot and Museum was greatly politically oriented. Her following volumes, Coal, The Black Unicorn, Chosen Poems Old and New, and Our Dead Behind Us, sustain a similar marriage of love and sorrow, appreciation and disdain, and empowerment and oppression. Her prose volume, A Burst of Light (1988), was awarded the American Book Award.

Aside from founding Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, and helping to establish Sisters in Support of Sisters in South Africa, Lorde taught as a professor of English and criminal justice. •



Art By Jen Keenan


Sources:

Threatt Kulii, Beverly; Reuman, Ann E.; Trapasso, Ann. "Audre Lorde's Life and Career".

Audre Lorde's Life and Career. Modern American Poetry. Retrieved 8 November 2015.

"Audre Lorde's Life and Career". www.english.illinois.edu.

Lorde, Audre. "Uses of the Erotic: Erotic as Power."

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches, The Crossing Press, 2007, pp. 53–59.

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