Note: She and Toni Morrison have the same birthday. I double checked. February 18.
If you ask when when I met Audre Lorde, I will tell you I met her when I met myself! I will tell you that I met Audre when I decided being a writer is what I wanted to be, needed to be, and chose to become. The first time I heard her name was in ESSENCE magazine. I remember it was a biography that was written about her:
It was the phrase warrior poet that struck me. What I need you to know about Audre is she is Black, gorgeous, gifted, unapologetic about anything she did. And I mean anything! If you have followed this space for any length of time, you know that the patron saint of this space is Ida Bell Wells Barnett. I make no apology for that. I would be disingenuous to not mention Audre. And here is why:
A self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet,” Audre Lorde dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia.
In 1981 Lorde and fellow writer Barbara Smith founded Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press, which was dedicated to furthering the writings of black feminists. Lorde would also become increasingly concerned over the plight of black women in South Africa under apartheid, creating Sisterhood in Support of Sisters in South Africa and remaining an active voice on behalf of these women throughout the remainder of her life.Poetryfoundation.org
Writers take care of writers. Black writers especially must.
With the discovery and rediscovery of her work, I must remind you, Torches, that sometimes the bravest thing you can do is keep going! The world still needs is poets. The world still needs the brilliance of Audre Lorde! The world still needs to be able to see itself through the unflinching lens of ink. And few did it better than Audre.
The most incredible thing about her work is that it is a mirror. It is a blanket. It is cold water, and sunlight! One of her most engaging pieces is titled The Master’s Tools Will Not Dismantle the Master’s House. Read this. Master it. Quote it. The glory of her work is that is is now being taught! It is still being recited, and there is a magic in her work that allows Black people (queer or straight) to see themselves in her work. It is with joy that I can call myself a poet, because of her. For that, I am grateful. Oh so, grateful.
Thank you, Mama Audre. Thank you.
Book list (there are more on Amazon!):
Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches
The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name