A writer, activist, and mother of two, Audre Lorde grew up in s Harlem. She earned a master’s degree in library science from Columbia University, received. Editions. Zami. Paperback Zami . This is Audre Lorde’s story. It is a rapturous, life-affirming tale of independence, love, work, strength. Complete summary of Audre Lorde’s Zami. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of Zami.

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Preview — Zami by Audre Lorde. ZAMI is a fast-moving chronicle. From the author’s vivid childhood memories in Harlem to her coming lofde age in the late s, the nature of Audre Lorde’s work is cyclical.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name – Wikipedia

It especially relates the linkage of women who have shaped her. Lorde brings into play her craft of lush description and characterization. It keeps unfolding page after page. Paperbackpages. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Zamiplease sign up. Lists with This Book.

Jun 21, mark monday rated it really lored it Shelves: View all 11 comments. Aug 28, Zanna rated it it was amazing Shelves: I did not know this was a book about love. More than anything, more than about New York City in the ’50s, more than being Black and gay and poor and female in that uneasy time, more than about the sensuality of food lorre the precise pleasures of style, more than about hustle and poetry and Audre’s fraught relationship with her mother and the longing for an unknown home, for Granada and Carriacou, it is about loving women.

I must add that these things are not separable. I cannot in any kind of fait I did not know this was a book about love. I cannot in any kind of faith tease it out as a strand.

Andre writes of loving women inside all these other shells and spaces and non-spaces, zam these stiflings and terrors and sufferings, all these joys and expansions into self and glory. Loving women, unfolding into all these places of being, where it seems to Audre that lesbians are the only women talking to each other, supporting each other emotionally at all in the ’50s. She azmi her friends and lovers invent the sisterhood the feminist movement obsessed about decades later.

In one scene, Audre’s mother hits her for not understanding racism, even though she has done her utmost to prevent her from knowing and understanding it, has made the topic of race taboo. Is she angry zamk the people who hurt her daughter or frustrated that lodde can’t control the world to protect her. In any case, the punishment doesn’t make sense, revealing the divisiveness of white supremacy, the power it has to restrict and shrink love.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name by Audre Lorde

In this anthology Cupcakes And Kalashnikovs I read a vignette from Zami in which Audre aged 12 and her sisters and parents go to Washington to celebrate graduations from grade and high school.

They go into an ice cream parlour and they are not served because they are black. Reading this episode in context, I can see that it is entirely toothless and for the anthology to include it as one of the woefully few items that deal with race now seems utterly reactionary.

I think about the discomfort of the white server who told them she ‘couldn’t’ serve them. This manifestation of legal racism was soon to be swept away, thanks to pressure of black activism. It seems to me that racially charged situations that makes whites feel embarrassed are good leverage, while aspects of racism that only benefit whites are more difficult to combat.


The sections that deal with the hideously unsafe factory work Lorde and other black women and men did to survive indict the culture of racism far more incisively, as she herself points out, noting that being able to eat whatever she wants anywhere in Washington didn’t seem that important in the context of her struggle to survive.

Visual Politics when Audre recalls stains on her pillow from nose bleeds being ‘at least a sign of something living’. This appreciation belongs to an awareness of life’s precariousness and preciousness inculcated by tragedy, and the will to live beyond survival. It’s the loveliest book, honestly, it’s so erotic, so beautiful, so warming and tender.

Such words lead towards a sweeter way of being. View all 4 comments. Aug 11, Shanna Hullaby rated it it was amazing. My new favorite book. Lorde tells all the secrets I was too afraid to tell in language more eloquent than my dreams. Dec 23, El rated it it was amazing Shelves: I went into this book knowing very little about Zamj Lorde other than she was a black, lesbian poet. I may have read some of her poetry back in college, but I am shocked Zami olrde assigned reading at the time.

My parents were not West Indian, I am not a lesbian, I didn’t grow up in Harlem in the fifties, I wasn’t alive during the bombing of Pearl Harbor, I didn’t have to leave the country because of McCarthyism although I’d like to leave for not dissimilar reasons.

And yet this book spoke to I went into this book knowing very little about Audre Lorde other than she was a black, lesbian poet. And yet this book spoke to me logde a way that rarely happens – more than other books and authors that probably easily get lumped in with Lorde Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, etc. Lorde wrote about being an outsider.

To read her experiences today probably doesn’t mean a lot to many readers because a lot has changed in the world since Lorde was young at least on paper – I argue things haven’t changed much at all except no one likes to talk about it openly. But I have always been an outsider in my own way, and I could relate to Lorde’s story even though we have very little in common. She knew that you could be an individual but also zamii be made up of every person we have shared a piece of our history with, for better or worse.

There’s a dreamy quality to Lorde’s writing, more than just poetry which is there because she was a poetsome repetition but in order to make a point. It’s sort of like how as you get to know people and share stories, sometimes stories repeat themselves because that’s just how it happens. There’s no reason that it needs to be edited out – these are our lives, these are our stories, and they’re important, especially if you want to really know someone.

I’m lorse fascinated by the term Lorde coined, “biomythography” – I read here that she was quoted to have said biomythography “has the elements of biography and history of myth. This is one way of expanding our vision.

View all 10 comments. Audre Lorde’s beatiful autobiography of her child- and early-adulthood. She’s been prized for her “sensuality” in writing but this is no chicklit – her account of the lesbian bar scene in ‘s America will fascinate anyone interested in these forgotten pockets of culture.

After reading it, what most amazed me about her was her unpretensiousness and her willingness to expose herself completely. Few writers have been so insightful when talking about themselves.


Nov 24, Jonathan rated it it was amazing Shelves: My second time reading this, the first being many years ago as an undergrad, has reinforced my love for this book, and my love for Lorde herself, her prose, poetry and essays all of which you should go check out. She is right about so much, and so much of what she says we desperately need to hear in these broken and divided times.

These are not from this book, but I share them anyway: It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths. For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.

They may allow us temporarily to beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. And this fact is only threatening to those women who still define the master’s house as their only source of support. Feb 12, Holly Dunn rated it it was amazing Shelves: Very easy five star rating.

The language is beautiful and the exploration of her identity as black, female and lesbian is fascinating. Seriously, go and read it.

It will make your heart sing. Feb 20, Nathan rated it it was amazing Shelves: I really wish I could teach this one day, but because I don’t live in some sort of fantasy utopia I have to recognize that no PTA would ever leave me unscathed for choosing a book that talks so candidly and so beautifully about homosexuality, abortions, and loving blackness. It’s a shame because I know that as a high schooler I would have enjoyed Zami infinitely more than the musty old fodder by dead white men I was assigned.

Dec 03, Alissa rated it it was amazing Shelves: I’ve always felt a real affinity for the poetry of Lorde’s writing, and somehow this was the only book of hers I could find at the library. Absolutely beautiful, gripping language. The lyricism that transforms sex into love.

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

The beauty of learning about yourself from the joy and pain of relationships. I would read this over and over again, bathe in these words and the honesty and the reality of this. This is also just a phenomenal cultural document, a portrait of queer life in the middle o I’ve always felt a real affinity for the poetry of Lorde’s writing, and somehow this was the only book of hers I could find at the library. This is also just a phenomenal cultural document, a portrait of queer life in the middle of this century and the way the structures mirrored the greater social structures of the time and don’t they always?

Revolutionary, even now and maybe especially now. Aug 25, Stephanie Spines rated it it was amazing Shelves: If I could wrap myself in a book and hideout forever, I’d do so with this book. Mother Audre has the most gorgeous writing style. Jul 29, Jimmy rated it really liked it Shelves: Have you played the privilege game?

You all stand in a line, and the host asks you to step backwards if you’ve ever felt “We’re both going to make it because we’re both too tough and crazy not to! You all stand in a line, and the host asks you to step backwards if you’ve ever felt unsafe walking alone at night.