October 1, 2022


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Audrey Lordzamy.  New spelling of my name - SWR2

Audrey Lordzamy. New spelling of my name – SWR2

“Zami” means friendship between women who love each other and stick together. Audrey Lorde tells exactly about such friendships in her memoirs: she tells her way from a girl who sees almost nothing without her thick glasses and rarely talks to an independent black lesbian. A path she had to walk alone because she didn’t have a role model. The result is a poignant and sensual mosaic of encounters with women, which imprints itself on Lourdes’ evolution as “mental tattoos”.
Kristen Harthauer Review.

home without ever having

Cinnamon, nutmeg, lemon, vanilla, tonka bean – these are the aromas of the West Indian spice island Kariakou. Island Audrey Lorde has always been associated with the word “home” without ever having it.

which she knew only from her mother’s stories and did not find in any atlas. Audrey was told that the women there are famous for their strength, beauty, and ability to stick together while their husbands are at sea. “Zami” is the name of their friendship type:

“on me kariako A name for a woman who sticks together as friends and lover.”

Audrey Lorde also called her 400-page diary “Zami”. In it, she tells the story of her journey from a girl who sees almost nothing without her thick glasses and rarely talks to an independent black lesbian.

Relationships and friendships as a protective network

It’s a path that Audrey Lorde had to walk on her own because she didn’t have a role model.

“I still remember what it felt like to be young and black and gay and lonely. A lot of it was okay because I felt like I had the truth and the light and the key, but so much of it was pure hell.”

Audre Lorde’s life was far from paradisiacal: the racism and oppression of the McCarthy era defined the years in which she grew up as a woman. There is no place for them that provides protection and support.

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She has to work hard to build these places in the form of friendships and love for other women. These relationships, dubbed “Zami,” make up the web that Audrey has woven over the decades.

Sensual language in a hostile world

Starting with her mother who raises her with a cruel hand, but at the same time she wants to protect her from the outside world: from the United States in the 1940s and discrimination against blacks.

Audrey moved in at the age of 17 and has been on her own ever since. It tells about the exhausting search for work, about hunger, about a lonely Christmas holiday, about a dangerous miscarriage. And about her first lover Ginger:

“Graceful little dark eyes. Peel off a caramel color with plenty of butter and a body like Venus von Willendorf.”

Audrey Lorde writes about her sexual encounters in a way that is sensual, pictorial, and devoted. Smells and bodies are described in as much detail as food and clothing.

Audre Lorde’s private life is political

Audrey Lorde discovers her warm world, creating it in New York gray and making it tangible to us through language. Her great talent is that she does not become comic, but always reflects the circumstances. Because being a black woman in the 1950s wasn’t just an individual thing:

“In my view, lesbians were the only black and white women who ever spoke in this country during the 1950s, outside of empty national discourse and political movements.”

Audrey realized this during her long relationship with Muriel, a white woman. What the two theoretically discuss at the kitchen table, they also live: their marital relationship, which is also open to new encounters. Life can be dignified in lesbian bars and cafés, while the interests of individuals and those of the community mingle here.

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Black, Female, Lesbian: Discrimination on Several Levels

What Audrey Lorde publicly describes are the differences: As lesbians, Muriel and Audrey belong to a minority. But Audrey struggles differently as a black woman:

“Most black lesbians hid their lesbians because they understood correctly how little the black community cared about us and how many other direct threats to our survival were. It was hard enough to be black, to be a black woman. To be black, female, and lesbian. In a white environment, and being open about it was just a suicidal idea for many black lesbians.”

Audrey Lorde faced this danger and did not let her discourage her. In “Zami” you write about how much power and energy it cost, poignantly and poignantly.

Biography as a mosaic of encounters

Her memoirs are not just her portrait of a girl who has become an intellectual. It’s a mosaic of encounters with women who impress themselves with Lourdes’ sophistication like “mental tattoos,” as she calls them.

“Mental tattoos” – many of them imprinted in their lives, just as Audrey Lord has shaped the lives of many women with her poems and political essays, both in black and white and outside the USA.