Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Judy Grahn  

Pen Name: None

Genre: C:ADULT Non-Fiction Poetry

Born: 1940 in Chicago, Illinois


Illinois Connection

Grahn was born in Chicago.

Biographical and Professional Information

Judy Grahn is an internationally known poet, writer, and social theorist. Her work is associated with several movements, including Gay, Lesbian, and Queer; Feminist/Woman-Centered; and Women's Spirituality. Born in Chicago, Grahn grew up in New Mexico. Seeking options not available in her small-town community of origin, she broke away and joined the Air Force. She was given a “blue discharge” (named for the blue paper on which these letters were printed) from the Air Force because she was a lesbian. This experience galvanized Grahn into public ownership of her lesbianism, into the writing of poetry, into lesbian activism, and into the project of publishing lesbian literature. In 1969, Grahn co-founded the ''Women’s Press Collective'' in Oakland, California. The WPC published the work of Grahn and other lesbians. The WPC edition of Grahn’s book ''Edward the Dyke and Other Poems'' appeared in 1971. Other poetry collections include ''The Common Woman'' (1969), ''A Woman is Talking to Death'' (1974), ''The Queen of Swords'' (1987), and ''Love Belongs to Those Who Do the Feeling'' (2009). Aunt Lute published a collection of Grahn's work in 2009, ''The Judy Grahn Reader''. In addition to her poetry, Grahn has written extensively of what it means to be a lesbian and a lesbian writer in books including ''Another Mother Tongue: Gay Words, Gay Worlds'', and ''Blood, Bread and Roses: How Menstruation Created the World''. In 1989, she edited ''Really Reading Gertrude Stein.''

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library


-- '''''Queen of Wands''''' *American Book Award '''''The Publishing Triangle''''' *Bill Whitehead Lifetime Achievement Award '''''Really Reading Gertrude Stein''''' *Lambda Literary Award for Best Book of Lesbian Memoir/Biography, 2013