Audre Lorde Keychain
Born February 18, 1934, Audre Lorde attended Hunter College and Columbia University and was a librarian for several years before publishing her first volume of poetry, First Cities, in 1968. More successful collections followed, including From a Land Where Other People Live (1973) and The Black Unicorn (1978). Lorde also wrote the memoirs The Cancer Journals (1980) and A Burst of Light (1988).
In addition to poetry, Audre Lorde was a powerful essayist and writer. In terms of her nonfiction work, she is best remembered for The Cancer Journals (1980), in which she documents her own struggle with breast cancer. Having undergone a mastectomy, Lorde refused to be victimized by the disease. Instead, she considered herself—and other women like her—to be warriors. The cancer later spread to her liver and this latest battle with the disease informs the essay collection, A Burst of Light (1989). This time, she chose to pursue alternative treatments rather than to opt for more surgery.
Audre Lorde battled cancer for more than a decade and spent her last few years living in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Around this time, she took an African name, Gamba Adisa, meaning "she who makes her meaning clear."
Audre Lorde died on November 17, 1992, on the island of St. Croix, the largest of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Over her long career, Lorde received numerous accolades, including an American Book Award for A Burst of Light in 1989. She is remembered today for being a great warrior poet who valiantly fought many personal and political battles with her words.