Friday, October 14, 2016

October 14 - Audre Lorde

Audre Lorde

An important and highly influential voice in contemporary literature, Audre Lorde was not afraid to confront some of the most notable feminists in history with claims of systemic racism. Though primarily known as a poet who tackled themes of race, culture, love, and injustice (Lorde published more than a handful of books of poetry from the 1960s to the 1980s), Lorde is taught in conjunction with feminist critical theory because of the ideas presented in her essay "Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference," a work that points out how not acknowledging our differences is what separates us, not necessarily the differences themselves (an idea now called "intersectionality"). Lorde contended through much of her work that feminism was inherently racist as it disregarded the experience of being black or lesbian or socialist or what have you. Lorde's open-mindedness about her identities had a strong impact on lesbian society especially, who embraced her ideas of reclaiming eroticism as female power and subverting the patriarchal in culture to feminize it. Lorde is also recognized for her long and valiant battle against cancer, which lasted over fourteen years after an initial diagnosis of breast cancer in 1978, followed six years later by liver cancer (which would eventually take her life in 1992). She wrote of her experiences in The Cancer Journals, realizing that writing was a means of survival for her and those like her, a calling and a responsibility.

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