Lorde seems prophetic, perhaps alive right now, writing in and about the US of 2017 in which a misogynist with white supremacist followers is president. But she was born in 1934, published her first book of poetry in 1968, and died in 1992. Black, lesbian and feminist; the child of immigrant parents; poet and essayist, writer and activist, Lorde knew about harbouring multitudes. Political antagonists tried, for instance, to discredit her among black students by announcing her sexuality, and she decided: “The only way you can head people off from using who you are against you is to be honest and open first, to talk about yourself before they talk about you.” Over and over again, in the essays, speeches and poems collected in Your Silence Will Not Protect You, Lorde emphasises how important it is to speak up. To give witness: “What are the words you do not yet have? What do you need to say? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence?”
To celebrate the recent publication by Silver Press of Your Silence Will Not Protect You, we are making Audre Lorde our Author of the Month throughout November. Bringing together her poetry, essays, and speeches for the first time in a UK publication, Your Silence... feels powerfully resonant in 2017, not least in Lorde's advocation of intersectional approaches to feminist politics many years before the term itself was coined.
You'll find the titles below and others available in store.
Your Silence Will Not Protect You
From Silver Press:
Audre Lorde (1934-92) described herself as ‘Black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet’. Born in New York, she had her first poem published while still at school and her last the year she died of cancer. Her extraordinary belief in the power of language – of speaking – to articulate selfhood, confront injustice and bring about change in the world remains as transformative today as it was then, and no less urgent. This edition brings Lorde’s essential poetry, speeches and essays, including ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’, together in one volume for the first time.
With a preface by Reni Eddo-Lodge and an introduction by Sara Ahmed.
A Burst of Light and other essays
From Dover Publications:
Winner of the 1988 Before Columbus Foundation National Book Award, this path-breaking collection of essays is a clarion call to build communities that nurture our spirit. Lorde announces the need for a radical politics of intersectionality while struggling to maintain her own faith as she wages a battle against liver cancer. From reflections on her struggle with the disease to thoughts on lesbian sexuality and African-American identity in a straight white man's world, Lorde's voice remains enduringly relevant in today's political landscape.
Those who practice and encourage social justice activism frequently quote her exhortation, "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare." In addition to the journal entries of "A Burst of Light: Living with Cancer," this edition includes an interview, "Sadomasochism: Not About Condemnation," and three essays, "I Am Your Sister: Black Women Organizing Across Sexualities," "Apartheid U.S.A.," and "Turning the Beat Around: Lesbian Parenting 1986," as well as a new Foreword by Sonia Sanchez.
From The Crossing Press:
In this charged collection of fifteen essays and speeches, Lorde takes on sexism, racism, ageism, homophobia, and class, and propounds social difference as a vehicle for action and change. Her prose is incisive, unflinching, and lyrical, reflecting struggle but ultimately offering messages of hope. This commemorative edition includes a new foreword by Lorde-scholar and poet Cheryl Clarke, who celebrates the ways in which Lorde’s philosophies resonate more than twenty years after they were first published.
These landmark writings are, in Lorde’s own words, a call to “never close our eyes to the terror, to the chaos which is Black which is creative which is female which is dark which is rejected which is messy which is…”