Picture of author.

Audre Lorde (1934–1992)

Author of Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

60+ Works 8,085 Members 85 Reviews 37 Favorited

About the Author

An African American lesbian feminist critic and writer, Lorde was born in Harlem and educated at National University of Mexico, Hunter College, and Columbia University. She married in 1962 and divorced in 1970, after having two children. Lorde first came to critical attention with her poetry. Her show more first poem was published in Seventeen magazine while she was in high school; it had been rejected by her high school newspaper because it was "too romantic" (Lorde considered her "mature" poetry, which focuses on her lesbian relationships, to be romantic also). Other early poems were published in many different journals, many of them under the pseudonym Rey Domini. Her first volume of poetry, "The First Cities," was published in 1968. Lorde then quit her job as head librarian at a school in New York City in order to devote her time to teaching and writing. She was a professor of English at Hunter College from 1980 until her untimely death from cancer in 1992. Although many of Lorde's poems are about love, many are about anger, particularly anger about racism, sexism, and homophobia in America. "The Brown Menace or Poem to the Survival of Roaches" likens African Americans to cockroaches---hated, feared, and poisoned by whites but survivors nevertheless. Other poems express a daughter's anger toward her mother; still others eschew anger for affirmation and inspiration, which are represented as coming from lesbian love and traditional African myths because, as Lorde has said, "the master's tools will not dismantle the master's house." Lorde is also well known for her prose. Her courageous account of her struggle with breast cancer and the mastectomy that she underwent is movingly chronicled in "The Cancer Journals" (1980), her first major prose publication. "Zami, a New Spelling of My Name" (1982) is, in Lorde's words, a "biomythography," combining history, biography, and myth. In "Zami," Lorde focuses on her developing lesbian identity and her response to racism in the white feminist and gay communities, and to sexism and homophobia in the African American community. Lorde's critical essays, collected in "Sister/Outsider" (1984) and "A Burst of Light "(1988), have been quite influential, particularly "Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power," in which she discusses the relationship of poetry to politics and the erotic. Lorde was the recipient of several grants---from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1968 and 1981 and from the Creative Artists Public Service in 1972---as well as the Borough of Manhattan President's Award for Literary Excellence in 1987. She was also nominated for the National Book Award for poetry in 1974 for her third volume of verse, "From a Land Where Other People Live"(1973). (Bowker Author Biography) show less

Works by Audre Lorde

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (1982) 1,866 copies
The Cancer Journals (1980) 542 copies
The Black Unicorn: Poems (1978) 378 copies
A Burst of Light (1988) 277 copies
Our Dead Behind Us: Poems (1986) 118 copies
Coal (1968) 71 copies
Chosen Poems Old and New (1656) 65 copies
When I Dare to Be Powerful (2020) 17 copies
Between Our Selves (1976) 14 copies
Cables to Rage (1970) 8 copies
The First Cities (1968) 4 copies
Die Quelle unserer Macht (1994) 3 copies
Conditions: Fourteen (1976) 2 copies
Entre Nós 1 copy
Audre Lorde 1 copy
Shorelines 1 copy

Associated Works

The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Poetry (1990) — Contributor — 753 copies
Race, Class, and Gender in the United States: An Integrated Study (1992) — Contributor, some editions — 514 copies
Race, Class, and Gender: An Anthology (1992) — Contributor, some editions — 443 copies
The Norton Book of Women's Lives (1993) — Contributor — 412 copies
The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader (1993) — Contributor — 408 copies
Cries of the Spirit: A Celebration of Women's Spirituality (2000) — Contributor — 372 copies
Weaving the Visions: New Patterns in Feminist Spirituality (1989) — Contributor — 354 copies
The Stonewall Reader (2019) — Contributor — 344 copies
Literature: The Human Experience (2006) — Contributor — 341 copies
The Essential Feminist Reader (2007) — Contributor — 318 copies
Growing Up Gay/Growing Up Lesbian: A Literary Anthology (1993) — Contributor — 284 copies
Home Girls: A Black Feminist Anthology (1983) — Contributor — 276 copies
The Black Woman: An Anthology (1970) — Contributor — 237 copies
African American Poetry: 250 Years of Struggle and Song (2020) — Contributor — 174 copies
Erotique Noire/Black Erotica (1991) — Contributor — 158 copies
Let Nobody Turn Us Around: An African American Anthology (1999) — Contributor — 150 copies
Afrekete: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Writing (1995) — Contributor — 145 copies
The Vintage Book of African American Poetry (2000) — Contributor — 144 copies
Black Women Writers at Work (1983) — Contributor — 128 copies
No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women (1973) — Contributor — 123 copies
Deep Down: The New Sensual Writing by Women (1988) — Contributor — 116 copies
Piece of My Heart: A Lesbian of Colour Anthology (1991) — Contributor — 112 copies
Poems from the Women's Movement (2009) — Contributor — 107 copies
Movement in Black (1978) — Foreword, some editions — 103 copies
The 100 Best African American Poems (2010) — Contributor — 97 copies
Poems Between Women (1997) — Contributor — 92 copies
My Lover Is a Woman (1996) — Contributor — 89 copies
Nepantla: An Anthology Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color (2018) — Contributor — 87 copies
A Life in Medicine: A Literary Anthology (2002) — Contributor — 82 copies
Life Notes: Personal Writings by Contemporary Black Women (1994) — Contributor — 80 copies
Wild Women Don't Wear No Blues (1993) — Contributor — 77 copies
Black Women Writers (1950-1980): A Critical Evaluation (1984) — Contributor — 77 copies
Choice Words: Writers on Abortion (2020) — Contributor — 74 copies
Memory of Kin: Stories About Family by Black Writers (1990) — Contributor — 65 copies
Racism and Sexism: An Integrated Study (1988) — Contributor — 62 copies
Calling Home: Working-Class Women's Writings (1990) — Contributor — 57 copies
Trouble the Water: 250 Years of African American Poetry (1997) — Contributor — 56 copies
Fight Back: Feminist Resistance to Male Violence (1686) — Contributor — 49 copies
The Ecopoetry Anthology (2013) — Contributor — 48 copies
Mouths of Rain: An Anthology of Black Lesbian Thought (2021) — Contributor — 40 copies
Soulscript: Afro-American Poetry (1970) — Contributor — 40 copies
I Hear a Symphony: African Americans Celebrate Love (1994) — Contributor — 33 copies
Race: An Anthology in the First Person (1997) — Contributor — 28 copies
Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women (1983) — Contributor — 22 copies
Go Girl! The Black Woman's Book of Travel and Adventure (1997) — Contributor — 20 copies
Sinister Wisdom 43/44: The 15th Anniversary Retrospective (1991) — Contributor — 20 copies
Queer Nature: A Poetry Anthology (2022) — Contributor — 15 copies
Modern Women Poets (2005) — Contributor — 13 copies
Schwarzer Feminismus: Grundlagentexte (2019) — Contributor — 8 copies
Sinister Wisdom 17 (1981) — Contributor — 6 copies
Sinister Wisdom 10: On Being Old and Age (1979) — Contributor — 6 copies
Sinister Wisdom 66: Lesbians and Activism. (2005) — Contributor — 5 copies
Sinister Wisdom 2: Lesbian Writing and Publishing (1976) — Contributor — 4 copies
Sinister Wisdom 8 (1979) — Contributor — 3 copies
Sinister Wisdom 6: Secrets. Taboos. (1978) — Contributor — 2 copies
Erotiske fortællinger fortalt af kvinder (1996) — Author, some editions — 2 copies
Sinister Wisdom 4 (1977) — Contributor — 1 copy

Tagged

20th century (72) African American (401) American literature (111) anthology (799) autobiography (143) biography (170) black (105) black feminism (85) class (76) essays (560) feminism (942) feminist (106) feminist theory (78) fiction (336) gay (93) gender (214) gender studies (96) history (119) lesbian (421) lgbt (162) LGBTQ (136) literature (231) memoir (258) non-fiction (817) poetry (1,428) queer (265) race (388) racism (102) read (73) religion (78) sexuality (99) short stories (117) sociology (90) spirituality (115) theory (60) to-read (1,133) USA (65) women (385) women of color (89) women's studies (336)

Common Knowledge

Members

Reviews

For decades books I've read and people I've talked to have urged me to read Audre Lorde. For no particular reason I never got around to it...until now! I sure am glad I finally picked up some of her work, and will surely add more of her titles to my bookshelf. The essays in Sister Outsider are eloquently written, easy to understand, and helpful today; decades after they were written.
 
Flagged
bookonion | 28 other reviews | Feb 23, 2024 |
This is the first time I've read anything by Audrey Lorde, but I will absolutely be reading more. It's fantastic how powerful and emphatic Lorde was in such a short span of pages.
 
Flagged
deborahee | Feb 23, 2024 |
As the intersection between racism, sexism, homophobia, and other forms of dehumanization gain greater attention, I had to read this books. Lorde's life as a Black lesbian mother really is unique. But as she says, she doesn't want to diminish any of those parts by focusing on them. Instead, at its best ("Scratching the Surface: Some Notes on Barriers to Women and Loving", "The Master's Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master's House", and "Man Child: A Black Lesbian Feminist's Response") she unpacks how all of those things tie together. A couple of the pieces were almost too poetic for my taste, but that makes sense seeing as how she is a poet. Still, this is inspired writing and should be read.… (more)
 
Flagged
JuntaKinte1968 | 28 other reviews | Dec 6, 2023 |
A powerful book. Two quotes that I like are:

"...we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness."
And,
"I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own."
 
Flagged
wallace2012 | 28 other reviews | Nov 4, 2023 |

Lists

Awards

You May Also Like

Associated Authors

Roxane Gay Editor

Statistics

Works
60
Also by
82
Members
8,085
Popularity
#2,996
Rating
4.2
Reviews
85
ISBNs
136
Languages
12
Favorited
37

Charts & Graphs