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Author Profile: Audre Lorde

Each month, we research our authors so that you can learn more about their background and how their stories came to life.


AUDRE LORDE

AUTHOR OF SISTER OUTSIDER


Where she comes from & where she is now: Lorde was born and raised in New York, NY, where she attended Hunter College High School. Later in life, Lorde moved to St Croix with her partner. It was there that she passed away on November 17, 1992, of liver cancer.

Where she studied: Lorde spent a year as a student at the National University of Mexico in 1954. She then returned to New York and enrolled at Hunter College. She graduated in the class of 1959. Lorde received her masters in Library Science from Columbia University in 1961.

You might know her from: Lorde’s poetry and prose have earned her a multitude of accolades. Here are a few highlights: in 1981, she received a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1988, her collection A Burst of Light won a National Book Award. Lorde was the New York Poet Laureate from 1991-1992.

When she was not writing: Lorde had her masters in Library Science and worked as a public librarian near Mount Vernon, New York for much of the 1960s.

Lorde on writing: “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. And when I couldn’t find the poems to express the things I was feeling, that’s what started me writing poetry, and that was when I was twelve or thirteen.” -Lorde


There’s so much more to know: We chose a collection of Lorde’s essays for our selection this month, but her poetry is incredibly moving. This article from the Poetry Foundation has a great deal of information about Lorde and links to twelve of her poems at the bottom, all of which can be accessed for free.