Audre Lorde: Happy Birthday!

Audre-Lorde

Today would have been Audre Lorde’s 79th birthday. A “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” in her own words, she dedicated her life and work to confronting racism, sexism, and homophobia.

Audre Lorde (1934–1992) was born Audrey Geraldine Lorde in New York City. Daughter of Caribbean immigrants from Barbados and Carriacou, Lorde grew up hearing her mother’s stories about the West Indies. She attended Hunter College High School, Hunter College, and Columbia University, where she completed a master’s degree in library science. She considered her year as an undergraduate student at the National University of Mexico (in 1954) as an important time of affirmation and renewal, during which she confirmed her identity on personal and artistic levels as a lesbian and poet.

Lorde worked as a librarian, professor and writer. Lorde was writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi in 1968. She taught at City College, Lehman College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Hunter College, and Atlanta University. She lectured throughout the United States and was founder of Kitchen Table, Women of Color Press.

Lorde died on November 17, 1992, in St. Croix, after years of battling cancer. She was 58.

Her numerous works include: Coal; A Burst of Light; The Black Unicorn; Between Ourselves; Cables to Rage; The Cancer Journals; The First Cities; From a Land Where Other People Live; The New York Head Shop And Museum; Our Dead Behind Us: Poems; Sister Outsider: Essays And Speeches; The Marvelous Arithmetics Of Distance: Poems; Undersong: Chosen Poems Old And New; Uses Of The Erotic: The Erotic As Power; Woman Poet—The East; and Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, among many others.

For more on Lorde’s life, see http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/audre-lorde,  http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/lorde/life.htm, and http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/306

Photo from http://www.roosevelthouse.hunter.cuny.edu/events/celebration-audre-lorde-20-years-later/

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