Survival is a Promise

Survival is a Promise

The Eternal Life of Audre Lorde


A Guardian and Lit Hub most anticipated book of 2024

Read these chapters like a collection of poems that speak in chorus in all directions. Understand each word as an opportunity for Audre’s fierce love, which is the same love that birthed the volcanoes and split the continents, to reach you, wherever you are.

Audre Lorde was a survivor: of childhood disability injustice, of her best friend’s suicide, of the atomic age. She was a college activist against nuclear arms. A mother who knew poetry could help her children survive a racist world. And, ultimately, a cancer survivor, who understood the war going on within her cells was connected to the struggle against oppression taking place all around her.

This stunning new account of Lorde’s life and work illuminates how, for Lorde, survival was not simply about getting through, or about resilience. It was about how to live on, and with, a planet in transformation. Lorde’s commitment to justice was intimately connected to her deep engagement with the natural world; with the planetary dynamics of geology, meteorology, and biology. For Lorde, ecological images are not simply metaphors but rather literal guides to how to be on earth, and how to live fully as a Black feminist lesbian warrior poet.

In Survival Is a Promise, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, the first researcher to explore the full depths of Lorde’s manuscript archives, illuminates the eternal life of Audre Lorde. Her life and work swell to become a cosmic force, showing us the grand possibility of life together on earth.


  • An exhilarating account of the feminist and civil rights pioneer Audre Lorde and what she can teach us about navigating today’s fraught politics, from poet and activist Gumbs
    Guardian - 2024 Books to Watch

About the author

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

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