Warrior poet : a biography of Audre Lorde /
Alexis De Veaux.
1st ed.
New York : W.W. Norton, c2004.
xviii, 446 p. : ill.
More Details
New York : W.W. Norton, c2004.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Alexis De Veaux is chair of the Women's Studies Department at the University of Buffalo (SUNY).
This item was nominated for the following awards:
Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, USA, 2005 : Won
Lambda Literary Awards, USA, 2005 : Won
Publishing Triangle Awards, USA, 2005 : Nominated
Stonewall Book Awards, USA, 2005 : Nominated
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2004-03-01:
Lorde, who died of liver cancer at age 58 in 1992 after surviving breast cancer some years earlier, described herself as a black feminist lesbian poet, but she was much more. Not only did she assume multiple identities (e.g., mother, lecturer, librarian, and political activist), but in 1991 she became the first African American and first woman to be designated New York State Poet. In this revealing portrait, De Veaux (chair, women's studies, SUNY at Buffalo) leaves no stone unturned, revealing that Lorde was an angry woman who battled depression and was in psychoanalysis for quite some time. While she apparently loved white women, she also hated them, suspecting that many were racist. What's more, she dated a Jewish man before coming out as a lesbian and for seven years was married to a white gay man, a union that produced two children. After 17 years with her white partner, Lorde left her and moved to the home of an African American woman in St. Croix, where she spent the last six years of her life. Ultimately, this is a story of both survival and loss and a moving tribute to someone who considered herself an outsider but who achieved success as a highly regarded poet. Recommended for women's studies collections in academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/03.]-Ann Burns, "Library Journal" (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2004-01-19:
This biography of Audre Lorde, the self-described "black, lesbian, feminist, mother, poet warrior" who died of metastasized breast cancer in 1992, at age 58, captures the complexities of a charismatic figure whose every personal move was indeed political. De Veaux, chair of the women's studies department at SUNY-Buffalo, draws from over 60 of Lorde's unpublished journals as well as testimony from friends and family, though she points out with academic caution in her introduction that this is only a "subjective" story. De Veaux divides her book between Lorde's "two lives," her emergence from a difficult Harlem childhood to a celebrated literary career and, later, her struggle with cancer. Born in 1934 to Caribbean immigrants, Lorde had a persistent, haunting feeling of being an outsider. An early interracial marriage to Ed Rollins brought two children, but Lorde came to find deeper satisfaction in lesbian love, embarking on a decades-long relationship with Frances Clayton and maintaining erotic friendships with activists and poets who informed and shaped her work. By the 1980s, Lorde's writings were internationally recognized, and she continued to articulate her ideas on race, sexuality and gender in groundbreaking ways, eventually bravely documenting her personal experience with breast cancer. This account does not include Lorde's final days, focusing instead on her working years. While De Veaux occasionally slips into academic-speak, she is a skilled biographer, pulling together the contradictory facts of Lorde's public and private personae with ease. Subjective it may be, but Warrior Poet is also a satisfying portrait of a brave life. 16 pages of photos not seen by PW. Agent, Charlotte Sheedy. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Appeared in Choice on 2004-09-01:
As authorized biographer for this important African American writer and activist (1934-92), De Veaux (women's studies, SUNY, Buffalo) had access to a wealth of material, everything from Lorde's 60 journals to the "yellow and white Chinese chiong som" dress she wore at her wedding to legal-aid attorney Edwin Rollins. De Veaux's resources for understanding the "brilliant, intimidating, visionary" feminist include crucial interviews with Rollins; the couple's two children; sociologist Gloria Joseph, Lorde's companion; and such writer friends as Adrienne Rich, Michelle Cliff, and Diane di Prima. Determined to do "justice" to Lorde and also to the "historical record," De Veaux relates both the great generosity and the many infidelities of the charismatic essayist, poet, speaker, and "biomythographer." De Veaux's decision to conclude her account in 1986, six years before Lorde died, seems questionable, although she explains that Lorde's "spiritual homelessness" ended that year when she joined Joseph in the Virgin Islands. De Veaux admits her own unwillingness to "overemphasize the cancer" that overshadowed the author's final years; Lorde herself wrote unflinchingly about her disease in The Cancer Journals (1980). The fullest available discussion of Audre Lorde, this is an absorbing book. ^BSumming Up: Essential. All collections. J. W. Hall University of Mississippi
This item was reviewed in:
Kirkus Reviews,
Library Journal, November 2003
Publishers Weekly, January 2004
Library Journal, March 2004
San Francisco Chronicle, April 2004
Boston Globe, May 2004
Choice, September 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Unpaid Annotation
The long-awaited first biography of the author of "The Cancer Journals," an American icon of womanhood, poetry, African American arts, and survival.
Table of Contents
Introductionp. xi
Acknowledgmentsp. xv
"The Transformation of Silence ..." (1934-54)p. 3
"Poetry Is Not a Luxury" (1954-69)p. 47
"Uses of the Erotic ..." (1970-77)p. 109
"The Black Unicorn" (1978-83)p. 197
"The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance" (1984-86)p. 333
Epiloguep. 363
Notesp. 369
Bibliographyp. 425
Indexp. 437
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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