Biography of Judy Grahn
Judy Rae Grahn (born July 28, 1940, in Chicago, Illinois) is an American poet. Grahn's work focuses on the feminist and lesbian experience.
Judy Rae Grahn was born in 1940 in Chicago, Illinois. Her father was a cook and her mother was a photographer's assistant. Grahn described her childhood as taking place in "an economically poor and spiritually depressed late 1950s New Mexico desert town near the hellish border of West Texas." When she was eighteen, she eloped with a student named Yvonne at a nearby college . Grahn credits Yvonne with opening her eyes to gay culture. Soon thereafter she would join the United States Air Force. At twenty-one she was discharged (in a "less than honorable," manner, she stated) for being a lesbian.
At the age of 25, Grahn suffered from Inoculation lymphoreticulosis, or Cat Scratch Fever, which led to her being in a coma. After overcoming her illness, she realized that she wanted to become a poet. This realization was partially due to the abuse and mistreatment Grahn faced for being openly lesbian. Of the incident, Grahn stated "I realized that if I was going to do what I had set out to do in my life, I would have to go all the way with it and take every single risk you could take.... I decided I would not do anything I didn't want to do that would keep me from my art."
Grahn would move to the west coast where she would become active in the feminist poetry movement of the 1970s. During this period, many rumors surfaced pertaining to Grahn's weight and a possible eating disorder. Grahn attributes her thin frame to poor eating habits, smoking cigarettes, and drinking coffee.
She earned her PhD from the California Institute of Integral Studies. Until 2007, Grahn was the director of the Women's Spirituality (MA) and Creative Inquiry (MFA) programs at the New College of California.
Today, Grahn lives in California and teaches at the California Institute for Integral Studies, the New College of California, and the Institute for Transpersonal Psychology. There she teaches women's mythology and ancient literature, Metaformic Consciousness (a philosophy created by Grahn), and Uncommon Kinship - a course that uses theories from her Metaformic philosophy.
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Judy Grahn Poems
Helen In Hollywood
When she goes to Hollywood she is an angel. She writes in red red lipstick
Slowly: a plainsong from an older woman ...
am I not olden olden olden it is unwanted. wanting, wanting am I not broken
The first four leaders had broken knees The four old dams had broken knees The flock would start to run, then freeze The first four leaders had broken knees
Paris and Helen
He called her: golden dawn She called him: the wind whistles He called her: heart of the sky She called him: message bringer
The Common Women Poems, III. Nadine, res...
She holds things together, collects bail, makes the landlord patch the largest holes. At the Sunday social she would spike
Helen In Hollywood
When she goes to Hollywood
she is an angel.
She writes in red red lipstick
on the window of her body,
long for me, oh need me!
Parts her lips like a lotus.
Opening night she stands, poised