Audre Lorde (1934-1992) was the author of The Cancer Journals, and an icon of American womanhood, poetry, African American arts and survival. She created a mythic identity for herself that retains its vitality to this day. Alexis De Veaux demystifies Lorde's iconic status, charting her childhood; her marriage to a white, gay man with whom she had two children; her emergence as an outspoken black feminist lesbian poet; and her canonisation as a seminal poet of American literature. Lorde's restless search for a spiritual home finally brought her to the island of St Croix in 1986. This long-awaited first biography draws on the private archives of the poet's estate, personal journals, and interviews with members of Lorde's family, friends and lovers. Assessing the cultural legacy of a woman who personified the civil rights struggles of the twentieth century, De Veaux pays homage to one of the most courageous, singular voices of American letters.