Judy Grahn is internationally known as a poet, writer, and cultural theorist.
Her writings helped fuel second wave feminist, gay and lesbian activism, and women’s spirituality movements beginning in 1965 when she picketed the White House for Gay rights, and wrote her first article, “A Lesbian Speaks Her Mind,” published the next year in Sexology Magazine. She co-founded Gay Women’s Liberation and the Women’s Press Collective in 1969. She taught writing, literature, and spirituality in Oakland for fifteen years, sometimes in collaboration with Paula Gunn Allen, and Betty De Shong Meador. She graduated from California Institute of Integral Studies with a Ph.D. concentration in Women’s Spirituality, after doing research in South India.
She has published three poetry collections, eight chapbooks, and two book-length epic poems tracing Helen of Troy as a version of Sumerian goddess Inanna. Much of her work has been dramatized, danced, and put to music. For instance, an acapella chorus, “She Who,” does some of her She Who Poems. Judy is a performer, collaborating with singer-songwriter Anne Carol Mitchell; their cd is called Lunarchy. Judy has also published an ecotopia novel, short stories and articles, and four nonfiction books, including Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds, and Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World. Her latest collection of poetry and prose is The Judy Grahn Reader, and her newly published memoir is A Simple Revolution: the Making of an Activist Poet.
Judy is a professor in the Women’s Spirituality Master’s Program at Sofia University in Palo Alto, Ca. She co-edits an online journal based in her theory of menstrual ritual origins of human culture: Metaformia Journal, www.metaformia.com
Her work has won awards: an NEA Grant, an American Book Review award, an American Book Award, an American Library Award; a Lifetime Achievement Award (in Lesbian Letters), a Founding Foremothers of Women’s Spirituality Award. Triangle Publishers feature a “Judy Grahn Nonfiction Award”. Seattle Gay Day Parade of (199 was based on Judy’s book, Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds.
It is not true that Judy is sick, or that she has or ever had Multiple Sclerosis, though some WEB sites carry this misinformation. The confusion may be that people are looking for Judy Graham, who writes about MS.
It is not true that she is the author of Woman and Nature—that person is Susan Griffin.
It is not true that Judy is an essentialist or a separatist; her Metaformic philosophy is inclusive
It is not true that Judy was ever anorexic or a drug addict. Her alarming thinness in her thirties was due to overwork, and trying to live on cigarettes, coffee, (if these aren't drugs, what are?) and adrenaline from being a high profile poet while helping to run the Women’s Press Collective in Oakland in the 1970’s. She no longer smokes; she drinks decaf and gets plenty to eat, though chocolate is her vegetable of choice.
What is true:
Judy is a prolific writer: See Book section for a list of her publications.
Judy is a lesbian, and woman-centered. It is true that she wrote all seven of The Common Woman Poems in one night. A music group called "High Risk" recorded one of the poems on a 45, the first distribution of Olivia Records. She does readings, presentations, and performances (with singer/songwriter Anne Carol)
Her work has been the subject of numerous dissertations and master’s theses, as well as chapters of published books by these authors:
Linda Garber Identity Poetics: Class, Race, and the Roots of Queer Theory
Kim Whitehead TheFeminist Poetry Movement
Johanna Dehler Fragments of Desire: Sapphic Fictions in the Work of HD, Judy Grahn, and Monique
Joe MoffetThe Search for Origins in the Twentieth Century Long Poem
Judy appears in two films:
Last Call at Maude’s
Metaformic Theory is credited in a film using numerous quotes on Judy’s life from her book Blood, Bread, and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World, in a 60 minute documentary film by the award-winning Kerala, India filmmaker Vipin Vijay: Poomaram or A Flowering Tree (2007).
Photo used in Judy Grahn web-site header: Lynda Koolish ca. 1972
Header Design and illustration by Shiloh Sophia McCloud www.shilohsophia.com
Faculty meeting, Dianne Jenett, Luisah Teish, Anne Bluethenthal, Deborah Grenn (phot by Judy)
All material on this site is copyright 2007 Judy Grahn. All rights reserved.