She married in and divorced in , after having two children. Lorde first came to critical attention with her poetry. Her 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 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.
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How am I going to do this now? She does do it, and her book radiates with rebellion, even four decades later. I do not have cancer, but I am a feminist and one diagnosed with an avalanche of overlapping autoimmune diseases.
Sick writers, both male and female, have often reflected on how illness overwhelms their work. Does sickness, with its attendant infirmity, its gloomy shadow over the intellectual, represent feminist defeat? Her diagnosis comes months after an initial cancer scare and a lump that proves after a harrowing period of waiting and wondering to be benign. It is not so the second time, and agonising days are spent in the hospital between the biopsy that bears the bad news and the mastectomy that excises her right breast.
The violence is not limited to the excision; beyond the fog of pain lie the expectations of a culture that wants, even demands, that women look a certain way. Then as now, it is other women who are selected to deliver the news regarding the requirements of conformity and compromise.
She is both brave and right. Embracing her one-breasted self, Lorde refuses to render invisible her difference and the experience of pain that is somehow embarrassing to others.
Not only does she refuse to wear the prosthesis home from the hospital, she shirks it completely, refusing to be cowed even when a previously decent nurse accuses her of damaging the morale of other patients.
In this, a head-on, one-breasted confrontation with societal expectation, Lorde reveals the nobility and worth of strength that is tested. It is not an incidental or reactive position; in Cancer Journals, Lorde explains the feminist rationale behind it. Cosseted in prosthesis, literal or figurative, she argues, women are kept from confronting loss, of breasts or of formerly healthy selves. No feminist must permit this. Before reading The Cancer Journals, I had long inhabited their ranks.
I emerged as neither a contradiction nor an oxymoron, but a vanguard, a model, for others less brave.
The Cancer Journals Quotes
It deals with her struggle with breast cancer and relates it to her strong advocacy and identity in certain social issues such as lesbian, civil rights, and feminist issues. The Cancer Journals consists of an introduction and three chapters, each featuring passages from her diary. Understanding the early developments of her life and her journey to writing poetry, leads to a better understanding of her work on The Cancer Journals and its significance. Apart from the story Lorde tells in her book, it is also essential to understand her experience with cancer apart from the literary work. Her cancer battle serves as a catalyst for much of her work, and is thus an important aspect in understanding the bigger picture of The Cancer Journals. Audre Lorde background[ edit ] Audre Lorde February 18, — November 17, was a writer, feminist, womanist, and civil rights activist. Her work mostly relates to issues surrounding the female black identity, as well as feminism and civil rights.
The Cancer Journals record a new way for women to face ill-health
She attended Catholic schools before graduating from Hunter High School and published her first poem in Seventeen magazine while still a student there. I would read poems, and I would memorize them. People would say, well what do you think, Audre. What happened to you yesterday? And I would recite a poem and somewhere in that poem would be a line or a feeling I would be sharing.