Elizabeth Alexander


The Marygrove College Department of English and Modern Languages is pleased to announce that poet and essayist Elizabeth Alexander will be the twenty-first guest in Marygrove’s Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series. She will deliver the Lillian and Donald Bauder Lecture at 8 p.m. on Friday, April 24, 2009 in Alumnae Hall.

Dr. Alexander is the author of four books of poetry: The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001) and American Sublime (2005). She has also written two books of essays, The Black Interior (2003) and Power and Possibility: Essays, Interviews, Reviews (2007). She collaborated with Marygrove’s 2007 guest author, Marilyn Nelson on Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color, a book of sonnets for children. Her poems have been widely anthologized, and she has edited collections of poems by Gwendolyn Brooks and Melvin Dixon and has published fiction and criticism in Signs, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Review, The Village Voice, The Women's Review of Books, and The Washington Post.

In December 2008, President-elect Barack Obama asked Elizabeth Alexander to compose a poem for his inauguration on January 20, 2009. In addition to this honor, Dr. Alexander has also been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago, the George Kent Award, and a Guggenheim fellowship. American Sublime was one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for poetry. She is an inaugural recipient of the Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work that “contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954.” In 2007, she was named the inaugural recipient of the $50,000 Jackson Poetry Prize.

Born in New York City, Alexander was raised in Washington, D.C. She attended Yale University, Boston College, and the University of Pennsylvania, where, in 1992, she received a Ph.D. in English. She has served on the faculties of Haverford College, the University of Chicago, New York University, and Smith College, where she was Grace Hazard Conkling Poet-in-Residence and first director of the Poetry Center at Smith College. She is now Professor of African American Studies at Yale. In 2007-2008, she was Mildred Londa Weisman Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University.

Bibliography: Primary Sources

Bibliography: Secondary Sources

Additional Links:
Alexander's home page (plenty of information: audios, articles, links, bibliography, other information): http://www.elizabethalexander.net/home.html

Academy of American Poets, Poets.org (articles, poems, features):http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/245

CBS News--Stories & video clips:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/01/13/eveningnews/main4719869.shtml?source=related_story

Praise Song for the Day: Inaugural poem: Praise Song for the Day 
Poetry Foundation (articles & audio):http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=84

Minnesota Public Radio interview & reading (audio):http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/2005/10/13_newsroom_alexander/

Tribute by Alexander to poet Lynda Hull (audio, reading of "Lynda Hull" from "Five Elegies"):http://www.blackbird.vcu.edu/v7n1/nonfiction/alexander_e/hull.htm

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