Virgin Islands’ author, educator, feminist and activist Gloria I. Joseph, Ph.D., will bring the celebration of National Poetry Month to an impressive close with the St. Croix launch of her remarkable bio/anthology that reflects the tenacious life of Caribbean-American, black feminist and poet laureate Audre Lorde, the St. Croix Source reports.
The St. Croix book launch for “The Wind Is Sprit: The Life, Love and Legacy of Audre Lorde” will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 26, at Beachside Café at Sandcastles on the Beach, Frederiksted. The book pays homage to the revolutionary spirit and profound legacy of Lorde, who spent some of her most creative years living on St. Croix. The book’s essays, remembrances, poetry and testimonies, told in griot style, have been described as multifaceted, boundary-crossing and pioneering. They take the reader on a thought-provoking journey of Lorde’s literary visions. Joseph and several local contributors will read from and discuss the bio/anthology, and they will sign copies at the launching.
Joseph, the great niece of Crucian philanthropist Casper Holstein, is a renowned scholar, who earned her doctorate in educational psychology from Cornell University. She is professor emeritus at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass., and has lectured all over the world.
“The Wind is Spirt” weaves together stories, memories and photographs from 50 contributors, including Pennsylvania State Poet Laureate Sonia Sanchez and political activist and scholar Angela Davis. Included among the contributors are 12 Virgin Islands essayists and poets who were in some way touched by Lorde’s worldly presence.
Joseph has spent the last few months touring and discussing the more intimate stories about Lorde untold in the many chronicles of her life. “The writing of this bio/anthology fulfilled a promise made to Audre. She told me that she wanted her bio to ‘leave a story of who I am in all my complexities and to have people share my vision’, ” said Joseph, Lorde’s partner in the latter stages of her 58 years of life.
The anthology was introduced on Feb. 17 at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, during which Joseph and Sanchez shared the stage for a conversation about how Lorde used her creativity to combat social injustices. On Feb. 18, the book was officially launched before a full house of 600 at Hunter College, where the poet and educator once taught, and in celebration of what would have been Lorde’s 82nd birthday. New York City’s first lady, Chirlane McCray, wife of Mayor Bill De Blasio and an accomplished poet mentored by Lorde, offered poetry and remembrances along with Joseph and many others. Additional book events were warmly received at Barnard College, Community College of N.Y., Syracuse University, Westchester Community College, University of Massachusetts and Hampshire College.
Lorde lived on St. Croix during her final years and experienced the acceptance, comfort and the Caribbean climate and culture that she longed for throughout her life. She will be remembered as an active leader in the fight against racial bigotry, homophobia and gender inequality and for her significant role in the civil rights, gay liberation and women’s movements of the 1960s. Lorde was selected as Poet Laureate of New York State in 1992, having received numerous other honors and accolades throughout her lifetime.
She will also appear at the Book Bacchanal on April 22, at the Caribbean Museum Center for the Arts in Frederiksted.
The bio/anthology was published by Villarosa Media, a boutique publishing company promoting African American authors and their works.