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Zami: A New Spelling of My Name, Audre Lorde, The Crossing Press, 1998 (c1982), ISBN 0-89594-122-8, $16.95, 256pp.

A strong voice in both African-American women’s literature and lesbian literature, Audre Lorde is likely someone as alien to my experience as anyone could possibly be. Well, at least someone who was born and raised in the U.S. At first, I found this biography fascinating, but it began to tire me about halfway through. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I felt like everything was commonplace, rather than distinct and unique.

But then, maybe that’s her point. That lesbians, blacks, women, or what-have-you, are commonplace. That they are no more objects for sensationalism or titillation than yourself. Yes, there might be some individuals who live exciting lives, but the vast majority of them are the same vast majority of all of us, living quiet lives of trials and joys, successes and failures. This is likely the reason why Lorde does not talk about her success as a poet or writer, instead trying to focus the reader on her life as a life of the ultimate minority in society, who has the same humanity as anyone, but suffers under the present system.

For further reading, I would like to check out Lorde’s poetry, to see if that is more appealing to me in its artistry.

[Finished March 1999]


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