Audre Lorde (1944 -1992) lived a notoriously full and rich life as a writer, black woman, lesbian, mother, and poet. This sterling collection of her creative work includes 12 bold and brave essays and 60 poems. Here's just a short sample:

"I want to write down everything I know about bring afraid, but I'd probably never have enough time to write anything else. Afraid is a country where they issue us passports at birth and hope we never seek citizenship in any other country. The face of afraid keeps changing constantly, and I can count on that change. I need to travel light and fast, and there's a lot of baggage I'm going to have to leave behind me. Jettison cargo." (Journal entry, February 18, 1984)

In her introduction, editor Roxanne Gay states: "In this collection of Lorde's prose and poetry, you will be able to appreciate the grace, power, and fierce intelligence of her writing, to understand where she was writing from and why, and to bear witness to all the unforgettable ways she made herself, and all black women, gloriously visible.

The selections open us up to her inner life, her experiences and encounters with fear, her respect for female sexuality, and her struggles with cancer which killed at her at the age of 48.

At one point, Lorde laments:

"I respect the time I spend each day treating my body, and I consider it part of my political work. It is possible to have some conscious input into our physical processes — not expecting the impossible, but allowing for the unexpected — a kind of training in self-love and physical resistance."

If this well-written work is your first introduction to Audre Lorde, consider yourself lucky to have discovered her. You can join many others who have tapped into her life and wisdom at just the right moment in their lives and in the conflicted life of America.