Book Title: Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audrey Lorde

Book Author: Alexis De Veaux

Publisher: W.W. Norton and Co.

New York and London.

Year of Publication: 2004

Pages: 446

Dr. Mina Surjit Singh is a professor at the Department of English at Panjab University. Her research interests are Indian, British, American, and Afro-American Literatures, Gender Studies and Ecocritical Studies.


“Black, lesbian, mother, cancer survivor, urban woman: none of Lorde’s selves has ever silenced the others”, wrote the American National Book Award winning lesbian poet Marilyn Hacker of Audrey Lorde, in 1982. Now, twelve years after Lorde’s painful death with cancer, we have at last a much awaited biography of the poet with a “near-messianic public persona”. The biography, by another warrior poet Alexis De Veaux, is a richly deserved tribute to the first African-American and the first woman to be designated New York State Poet and warrior of the Civil Rights era. With no models to fall back on, De Veaux, who is presently chair of the Women’s Studies Department at the University of Buffalo, admits that she was faced with the daunting task of long and arduous visits to the poet’s family, to her white, gay, ex-husband, to her friends, to her former students and interviewers and to the streets of Harlem where Lorde grew up. Besides exploring “the thirty-odd boxes of papers and memorabilia” officially archived at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, to which she had sole access, De Veaux also examined the over sixty unpublished journals Lorde had left behind, that charted her being. Other significant sources that have chronicled the silent histories of women, like The Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn and The Caribbean Cultural Center in Manhattan, provided supplementary material. What we have then is a well researched and beautifully reconstructed history of the “two lives” of Lorde, which details “her strengths and her frailties, the humanity behind the icon.”