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"She has taken a woman lover
whatever can we say
She walks around all day
quietly, but underneath it
she's electric;
angry energy inside a passive form.
The common woman is as common
as a thunderstorm."

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Judy Grahn

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Judy Grahn

(1940- )

Judy Grahn – lesbian feminist poet, gay cultural theorist, archaeologist, critic, autobiographer, historian, archivist, publisher, biographer, activist, editor, anthropologist, and teacher who picketed the White House in 1963 with the Mattachine Society--has been one of the most effective leaders of the gay rights movement both pre- and post-Stonewall.

Born on July 28, 1940, in Chicago, Judy Grahn grew up in "an economically poor and spiritually depressed" New Mexico town "near the hellish border of West Texas." Her father was a cook and her mother a photographer's assistant.

In 1969, then, with artist Wendy Cadden, Grahn founded her own press, the Women's Press Collective. This press began with only a mimeograph machine and was dedicated to publishing "work of women that we thought no one else would do." Grahn was also part of the first lesbian feminist collective, the Gay Women's Liberation Group, and was one of the founders of "A Woman's Place," the first U.S. women's bookstore.

Grahn's identity as a lesbian and a feminist infuses all of her work. Her writing is explicitly political, asserting the presence and strength of women and lesbian culture and critiquing the patriarchal and heterosexist social biases that shape society.

One of the most important lesbian writers of our time, Judy Grahn continues to make vital contributions to audience development and literary production as she beckons each and every reader into a world exhilaratingly rich with common sense.

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