Synopses & Reviews
“Grief, terror, courage, the passion for survival and for more than survival, are here in the searchings of a great poet.”—Adrienne Rich
“This book teaches me that with one breast or none, I am still me.”—Alice Walker
“The forthrightness and ferocity with which Audre Lorde greeted every social injustice is in full force in this courageous exploration.”—Amazon.com
Moving between journal entry, memoir, and exposition, Audre Lorde fuses the personal and political as she reflects on her experience coping with breast cancer and a radical mastectomy. Includes photos and tributes to Lorde written after her death in 1992.
Now in paperback, the commemorative edition of poet Audre Lorde's powerful writings about breast cancer.
About the Author
Audre Lorde, poet, essayist, novelist and teacher was born in New York City on February 18, 1934. She grew up in Manhattan where she attended Catholic school. She loved to read poetry, often reciting whole poems or individual lines to communicate with people. When she could no longer find poems that expressed her feelings, she started writing her own poetry. Her first poem to be published appeared in Seventeen magazine when she was still in high school. Lorde attended Hunter College, graduating in 1959 with a bachelor's degree. In 1961 she received a masters in library science from Columbia University and worked as a librarian at Mount Vernon Public Library until 1963. From 1966 to 1968 she worked as head librarian at Town School Library in New York City. In 1968, Lorde received a National Endowment for the Arts grant and became poet-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi. Her first volume of poetry, The First Cities, was also published in 1968. Dudley Randall, a black critic and poet described The First Cities as a "quiet, introspective book," focusing on feelings and relationships. Lorde's second volume, Cables to Rage (1970) was published outside the United States. The poems focused on several themes: the transience of human love, the existence of human betrayal, birth, and love. In 1972 Lorde received a Creative Artists Public Service grant. A year later she published her third book of poetry, From A Land Where Other People Live. Nominated for a National Book Award, this volume portrayed a quiet anger of global injustice and oppression along with more personal themes of nurturing, tenderness and love for her children. New York Head Shot and Museum, probably her most political and rhetorical work was published in 1974. Writing from the perspective of a city dweller, the poems in this volume express her visions of life in New York City, intertwined with themes of what it is like to be a woman, a mother and Black. Coal, published in 1976 by W. W. Norton was the first of Lorde's books to be released by a major publisher. A compilation of her first two books, it brought her work to a broader readership. Her seventh book of poetry, The Black Unicorn (1978) is considered to be her most revealing work and the apex of her poetic and personal vision. Poet and critic Adrienne Rich said of The Black Unicorn: "refusing to be circumscribed by any simple identity, Audre Lorde writes as a Black woman, a mother, a daughter, a Lesbian, a feminist, a visionary; poems of elemental wildness and healing, nightmare and lucidity." A bout with cancer led Lorde to publish her first prose collection, The Cancer Journals. Chronicling her illness and eventual recovery, The Cancer Journals won the American Library Association Gay Caucus Book of the Year for 1981. Lorde continued her prose writing with Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982), a novel on the difficult relationship between a mother and her daughter, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (1984), and A Burst of Light (19881). Her most recent poetry collections include Chosen Poems Old and New (1982) and Our Dead Behind Us (1986). Lorde has worked intensively with women of color in many different countries and is a founder of Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, a press which concentrates exclusively on publishing and distributing works of women of color from various communities. She is also a founding mother of Sisters in Support of Sisters in South Africa. Lorde was professor of English at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City from 1979-8 1. From 1981-87 she was poet and professor of English at Hunter College of The City University of New York where she was named Thomas Hunter Professor in 1987. Her poetry and prose have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies here and abroad, and her work has been translated into seven foreign languages.