Audre Lorde


By K. Kendall [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

POWER OF THE PEN. Audre Lorde, left, is pictured with fellow writers Meridel Lesueur and Adrienne Rich at a 1980 writing workshop in Austin, Texas. Lorde began writing poetry when she was 12 or 13 years old. Lorde attended Hunter College and Columbia University, after which she worked as a librarian for several years before publishing “First Cities.” She had two children with a man whom she married and later divorced. Lorde described herself as a “black, lesbian, mother, warrior poet.”

Audre Geraldine Lorde, famed poet, novelist, and essayist, was born on Feb. 18, 1934, in New York City. Her first poem was published in Seventeen magazine while she was still in high school.
The writing to which Lorde dedicated her life addressed racism, sexism, and homophobia. While the poet’s radical agenda was widely criticized, her political and personal activism used words to pursue it as a mother and “warrior.”
Lorde’s lifelong connection with poetry began when she was young. She memorized poems and recited them in conversation when people asked her things. Lorde began to write in order to communicate her own thoughts and feelings.
Notable works include “First Cities” (1968), “From a Land Where Other People Live” (1973), “The Black Unicorn” (1978), “The Cancer Journals” (1980), and “A Burst of Light” (1988).
“The Cancer Journals” addressed Lorde’s over ten-year battle with breast cancer. Lorde died on Nov. 17, 1992 in the U.S. Virgin Islands.