World Cancer Day is an important time to acknowledge the loss and struggle of people who have cancer, and also for people who fought cancer. Many authors have faced cancer and have not made it. However, that doesn’t stop them from writing about their experience of talking about cancer. Here are four famous authors who have stared cancer in the face and still wrote about it.
1. Audre Lorde
A Black feminist who has fought for women’s civil rights, Black experience, intersectionalism, and LGBTQIA experience. Lorde has a powerful voice in her poems, memoirs, and activism worldwide. In 1980, The Cancer Journals of her experience with cancer has been used to discuss, illness, survivor, beauty, and Black feminism.
Clifton was familiar with the topic of cancer before she got diagnosed. Her most famous poems were about her husband Fred. Next (1987) was about his experience and her breast cancer experience which was recorded in the Terrible Stories (1996). At the age of seventy-three she passed away. However, her poems were about coming to terms with body changes during a cancer experience.
3. Max Ritvo
At the age of twenty-five, Ritvo died (2016). Although he was very young, his writing was seen as gifted. His work has been compared to Emily Dickinson and Jonathan Keats. Using humor for serious and sensitive topics made him a gifted young poet. He had a collection called Four Reincarnations and a chapbook called AEONS which was awarded the 2014 Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. He suffered from a rare cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma which affects the bones and soft tissue.
4. Susan Sontag
Although she had breast cancer, she didn’t write about her own experience. Her book Illness as a Metaphor was about the 20th century vs the 19th century’s point of view of how cancer was viewed and treated. Many sufferers were blamed for their lack of passion to push through, which she writes about. Before she was diagnosed with breast cancer and was writing this book during her treatments; she would travel to conflicting areas and write essays. She was also a filmmaker, political activist, and enjoyed photography.
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