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TONIGHT: Audre Lorde Poetry Night comes to The Center

SAN DIEGO -- Looking for a little inspiration? Join the Women’s Resource Center and Latino Services tonight between 6 and 8 p.m. for Audre Lorde Poetry Night, an evening of creative expression in the name of Audre Lorde, featuring poet April Mahoney.

Lorde was born on Feb. 18, 1934, in New York City. Her first poem was published while she was in high school.

According to Poets.org her first volume of poems, "The First Cities," was published in 1968.

... In 1968 she also became the writer-in-residence at Tougaloo College in Mississippi, where she discovered a love of teaching. In Tougaloo she also met her long-term partner, Frances Clayton. "The First Cities" was quickly followed with "Cables to Rage" (1970) and "From a Land Where Other People Live" (1972), which was nominated for a National Book Award. In 1974 she published "New York Head Shot and Museum." Whereas much of her earlier work focused on the transience of love, this book marked her most political work to date.

... In 1976, W.W. Norton released her collection "Coal" and shortly thereafter published "The Black Unicorn." Poet Adrienne Rich said of "The Black Unicorn" that "Lorde writes as a Black woman, a mother, a daughter, a Lesbian, a feminist, a visionary; poems of elemental wildness and healing, nightmare and lucidity." Her other volumes include "Chosen Poems Old and New" (1982) and "Our Dead Behind Us" (1986).

Poet Sandra M. Gilbert noted not only Lorde's ability to express outrage, but also that she was capable of "of rare and, paradoxically, loving jeremiads." Although her work gained wide acclaim, she was also sharply criticized. In an interview in the journal Callaloo, Lorde responded to her critics: "My sexuality is part and parcel of who I am, and my poetry comes from the intersection of me and my worlds. . . . Jesse Helms's objection to my work is not about obscenity . . . or even about sex. It is about revolution and change. . . . Helms knows that my writing is aimed at his destruction, and the destruction of every single thing he stands for."

... Audre Lorde was professor of English at John Jay College of criminal justice and Hunter College. She was the poet laureate of New York from 1991-1992. She died of breast cancer in 1992.

In her own words, Lorde was a "black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” and tonight participants will gather to honor her memory through music and poetry. Read her work, share your own, or just listen and be inspired!

This event is free, open to all, and will take place downstairs at The Center, 3909 Centre St. in Hillcrest.

For more information, contact Abby Schwartz, Women's Resource Center coordinator, at (619) 692-2077, ext. 212, or aschwartz@thecentersd.org.

Who Said It Was Simple
by Audre Lorde

There are so many roots to the tree of anger
that sometimes the branches shatter
before they bear.
Sitting in Nedicks
the women rally before they march
discussing the problematic girls
they hire to make them free.
An almost white counterman passes
a waiting brother to serve them first
and the ladies neither notice nor reject
the slighter pleasures of their slavery.
But I who am bound by my mirror
as well as my bed
see causes in color
as well as sex

and sit here wondering
which me will survive
all these liberations.

Learn more about Lorde HERE.