Zami: A New Spelling of my Name

Audre Lorde

Zami: A New Spelling of my Name
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Zami: A New Spelling of my Name

Audre Lorde

If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.

A little black girl opens her eyes in 1930s Harlem. Around her, a heady swirl of passers-by, car horns, kerosene lamps, the stock market falling, fried bananas, tales of her parents' native Grenada. She trudges to public school along snowy sidewalks, and finds she is tongue-tied, legally blind, left behind by her older sisters.

On she stumbles through teenage hardships – suicide, abortion, hunger, a Christmas spent alone – until she emerges into happiness – an oasis of friendship in Washington Heights, an affair in a dirty factory in Connecticut, and, finally, a journey down to the heat of Mexico, discovering sex, tenderness, and suppers of hot tamales and cold milk.

This is Audre Lorde’s story. It is a rapturous, life-affirming tale of independence, love, work, strength, sexuality and change, rich with poetry and fierce emotional power.

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