5 Things About Audre:
Audre was born in New York City to West Indian immigrant parents from Grenada.
She started writing poetry in high school after feeling like she could no longer find poems to read that expressed her feelings. Her first poem to be professionally published ("Spring") was in Seventeen magazine in 1951 while she was still in high school.
She described herself as a "black, lesbian, mother, warrior poet".
She dedicated both her life and her creative talent to confronting and addressing injustices of racism, sexism, classism, and homophobia. She was a revolutionary. She is quoted as saying “I have a duty to speak the truth as I see it and to share not just my triumphs, not just the things that felt good, but the pain, the intense, often unmitigating pain.”
She was named New York State Poet in 1991 and in the ceremony in which she was installed, used her platform to speak truth to power.
In this moment, when it is taking so much for me to "be ok", I look to this sister ancestor. I'm delaying all sorts of things I wanted to do while I attempt to look after my mental and emotional health. Navigating this pandemic, the madness of the election, the constant trauma to my people, hurricanes threatening my family, wildfires dropping gray ashen skies onto my days....new job, parenting a small child...it's a lot. So, I as I take yet another look at life to see what else I can detach from to preserve my daily strength, I am finding comfort in the words that Audre wrote in a letter to Pat Parker in 1985. The context of their conversation was a bit different from what I am describing, but it resonated nonetheless:
"Don't lose your sense of urgency on the one hand, on the other, don't be too hard on yourself - or expect too much.
Beware the terror of not producing.
Beware the urge to justify your decision."
I am listening.
Experience love from one black girl to another by checking out the full letters between Audre and Pat HERE.