Judy Grahn A cultural icon in the feminist and LGBTQ movements – New Collection Book


Judy Grahn was born in Chicago in 1940 and later moved to New Mexico. After turning eighteen, she joined the United States Air Force, but in 1961, she was discharged for being open about her sexual orientation. The shame and anger she felt led, in part, to her radicalization. In the mid-1960s, she began publishing poetry. Since then, she has been a cultural icon in the feminist and LGBTQ movements.

Hanging On Our Own Bones collects over forty years of Judy Grahn’s signature nine-part poems, including “A Woman is talking to Death,” often referred to as one of the most important poems of the twentieth century. These poems address issues crucial to our contemporary and often difficult world. Here Grahn’s steadfast and rhythmic verse directs our eyes to crucial yet often buried tribulations of our times by critiquing white supremacy, honoring battered women, exalting the powers of menstruation, and revealing lateral hostilities among potential allies—all to arouse a meaningful social critique.

Who is Judy Grahn?

“Anyone who reads Grahn will be changed for life. Repeat: for life.”
—Alicia Ostriker

Poet, writer, and cultural theorist, Judy Grahn has been at the forefront of gay and lesbian activism and women’s spirituality movements since the 1960s. Grahn’s works have been a rallying cry for women’s movements since before she was ever published, going viral before the Internet even existed.

Judy Grahn set out to be a poet at the age of nine, studying the poetic forms while asking the crucial question, What is poetry for? How does a poem connect with people and add meaning or strength to lives? Along the way she developed a distinct perspective—a fierce song—that is evident in the countless collections, poetic plays, dance dramas, and collaborations with musicians and songwriters she has produced.

In 1999, Judy Grahn’s book Another Mother Tongue served as the major theme of the Seattle Gay Pride Parade. In 1996, the Publishing Triangle, an association of lesbians and gay men in publishing, established an award in her name: The Judy Grahn Award, recognizing the best nonfiction book of the year. In June 2017, she will receive the Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature and Community Service.

Grahn’s work has won numerous other awards and honors, including an American Book Review Award, two American Book Awards, a Stonewall (American Library) Award, the Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement in Lesbian Letters Award, and two Lambda book awards. She is currently an Associated Distinguished Professor in Integral and Transpersonal Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, where in the 1990s she earned her PhD in Integral Studies. She served as co-director for an MA program in Women’s Spirituality for thirteen years, and for an MFA in Creative Inquiry for five years.

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