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Zami: A New Spelling of My Name Paperback – 22 Jan 1996
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In this autobiography Audre Lorde, activist, academic, poet and New York Laureate, combines elements of history, biography and myth to tell her own story. As a young black girl, her mother from Grenada, she grows up in 30s Harlem, as a teenager she lives through Pearl Harbour and as a young woman she experiences McCarthyism in 50s Greenwich Village. In and out of this chronicle move the women - mothers, lovers and friends who are Zami - "Every woman I have ever loved has left her print upon me, where I loved some invaluable piece of myself apart from me so different that I had to stretch and grow in order to recognize her".
From the Back Cover
“Zami. Carriacou name for women who work together as friends and lovers.”
In this classic autobiography Audre Lorde combines elements of history, biography and myth to tell her own story. A young black girl grows up in thirties Harlem, a teenager lives through Pearl Harbour, a young woman experiences McCarthyism in fifties Greenwich Village. In and out of this lyrical chronicle move the women – mothers, lovers, friends – who are zami: ‘Every woman I have ever loved has left her print upon on me, where I loved some invaluable piece of myself apart from me – so different that I had to stretch and grow in order to recognise her.”
“Lorde is a convincing, powerful writer. Her prose speaks directly to the heart of racism, self-acceptance, mother- and womanhood”
“Listen to this rich and raging voice”
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Zami is a Carriacou word for women working together as friends or lovers, and this book charts those meaningful relationships throughout her young life. Arguably less well known than I Know Why The Caged Bird sings, but they share a lot of themes of growing up black, poor and carving out a life of their own amidst structural oppression and racism in America. I love Audre's prose, bluntness, honesty, and plan to embark into her poetry this year too.
A must read for fans of Maya Angelou. I recommend following up this with Sister Outsider, her book of essays.
I can't say I'm enjoying it so far. It's not the worst so far, but its certainly not that good also.
If it was a book not from a book club, I would not keep on reading it