Watertown, Mass. New York: W. Indeed, among the elements that make the book so good are its personal honesty and lack of pretentiousness, characteristics that shine through the writing, bespeaking the evolution of a strong and remarkable character. The reader quickly grows to love the sturdy little black girl - daughter of parents immigrated to New York from Grenada before she was born - who is tongue-tied, unable to see without her glasses; who forces herself to stay awake half an hour after her parentally-imposed bedtime in order to listen to the stories nightly serialized by her two older sisters; who, in her loneliness, dreams of having a ''little female person'' all her own; yet who yearns for the magical moments of privacy disallowed by a stern mother who, considering solitude a social perversion, insists that Audre's bedroom door remain open except when she is studying, constantly studying. With her, we experience the pain of her gradual recognition of racism something from which her powerful mother seeks for years to protect her ; the suicide of a teen-age best friend for whom she has been able to do nothing.
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If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive. A little black girl opens her eyes in s Harlem, weak and half-blind.
On she stumbles - through teenage pain and loneliness, but then to happiness in friendship, work and sex, from Washington Heights to Mexico, always changing, always strong.
This is Audre Lorde's story. A rapturous, life-affirming autobiographical novel by the 'Black, lesbian, mother, warrior poet', it changed the literary landscape. She was an inspiration' Jackie Kay. She was an inspiration. At last I felt I fitted in. Excellent and evocative Her experiences are painted with exquisite imagery.
Zami is important because of its descriptions of growing up a black lesbian feminist in the s, with open, unapologetic, vivid descriptions of women's relationships. Her work is so quotable. It has the zeitgeist factor. Now, just as much as ever, we need the voice of Audre Lorde. I have an Audre Lorde google alert on my phone. It helps confirm how relevant my favorite black, lesbian, mother, warrior poet remains today.
Lorde's examination of her multiple outsiderness pried my sheltered mind wide open. Zami made me realise that I was not alone Zami feels larger than life - almost legendary - while remaining grounded, intimate and moving. Audre Lorde was a writer, feminist and civil rights activist - or, as she famously put it, 'Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet'.
Born in New York in , she had her first poem published while she was still in high school. After stints as a factory worker, ghost writer, social worker, X-ray technician, medical clerk, and arts and crafts supervisor, she became a librarian in Manhattan and gradually rose to prominence as a poet, essayist and speaker, anthologised by Langston Hughes, lauded by Adrienne Rich, and befriended by James Baldwin.
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Gifts for bibliophiles. Penguin Shop Penguin Shop Book bundles. Penguin gifts. Writing workshops. View all. Home Zami. Zami A New Spelling of my Name. Paperback Ebook. View more editions. Buy from. One of the BBC's ' Novels That Shaped Our World' If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive A little black girl opens her eyes in s Harlem, weak and half-blind.
She was an inspiration' Jackie Kay Read more. Share at. More in this Series. Coolie Mulk Raj Anand. Babette's Feast Isak Dinesen. Babylon Revisited F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Mersey Sound Adrian Henri and others. The Gifts of War Margaret Drabble. Little Man, What Now? Hans Fallada. Summer Edith Wharton. Childhood, Youth, Dependency Tove Ditlevsen.
Killer in the Rain Raymond Chandler. Exile and the Kingdom Albert Camus. Poems of the Great War. Americana Don DeLillo. About the Author. Audre Lorde Audre Lorde was a writer, feminist and civil rights activist - or, as she famously put it, 'Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet'.
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THE POET WHO FOUND HER OWN WAY
It started a new genre that the author calls biomythography, which combines history, biography, and myth. Lorde is legally blind from a very young age, isolating her even further from her surroundings and a family from which she does not receive much warmth or affection. Her two older sisters, Phyllis and Helen, are very close, but are rarely mentioned in Zami and Lorde spends little time with them. Her parents and other adults, especially her mother, discipline her harshly for insolence. Lorde does not speak until age 4, when she declares that she wants to read, and promptly follows through on this desire. She witnesses racism from a young age.
Zami: A New Spelling of My Name
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Access options available:. While Lorde does share a few incidents of traumatic memories to break the silence—the painful memories of her family experiencing everyday and systemic racism in her childhood, the loss and death of her friend Genevieve, along with experiences of sexual assault during her girlhood—Lorde is more interested in elaborating on the empowerment of erotic memories for herself and for other women. I note that by discovering her sexual awakening and same-sex desire through narrative or storytelling, Lorde is able to arrive at self-authorization and self-affirmation, writing her subjectivity and personal history through the embodied erotic. Zami is not simply an autobiography but a biomythography, in which myth and fiction function to frame past, present, and future selves. Here I am interested in analyzing how Lorde conceptualizes narratives of memories, whether homeland memories, childhood memories, erotic memories of her female intimate relations, traumatic memories of sexual assault, or mythical memories of spiritual song and symbolic Africa. I argue that the resistant narratives of remembrance, specifically the embodied erotic memories, become an important place for Lorde to narrate self-invention and subjectivity and to rewrite personal and cultural histories. The memoir is structured in three sections.