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Lorde was a founding member of Sisters in Support of Sisters in South Africa (SISA), an organization that worked to raise concerns about women under apartheid. She earned a BA from Hunter College and a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University. She received numerous accolades during her long career and she was the poet laureate of New York 1991-1992.
Explaining the beginnings of her poetic ventures, Lorde commented in Black Women Writers: “I used to speak in poetry. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing. In other words, I literally communicated through poetry…” She published several books and also poem anthologies.
Lorde battled cancer in her later years. After her first diagnosis she wrote The Cancer Journals, which won the American Library Association Gay Caucus Book of the Year Award in 1981. She lost her battle with cancer in 1992.
A list of some of her works:
- The First Cities
- Cables to Rage
- From a Land Where Other People Live
- New York Head Shop and Museum
- Between Our Selves
- Hanging Fire
- The Black Unicorn
- The Cancer Journals
- Uses of the Erotic: the erotic as power
- Chosen Poems: Old and New
- Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
- Our Dead Behind Us
- A Burst of Light
- The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance
- I Am Your Sister: Collected and Unpublished Writings of Audre Lorde
- Your Silence Will Not Protect You: Essays and Poems