Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright and author of the recent memoir, The Light of the World, a story of love and loss following the sudden death of her husband. Of the book, Joyce Carol Oates said, “Both a memoir and a portrait of marriage, The Light of the World, is as its title suggests, a bittersweet testament to love and the memory of love, one of the most compelling memoirs of loss that I have ever read.”
Elizabeth Alexander composed and delivered a poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. Alexander has been contributing to ongoing conversations about race, immigration, and social justice throughout her career. She once remarked, “Poetry is not meant to cheer; rather, poetry challenges, and moves us towards transformation.”
The former Chair of Yale University’s Department of African American Studies, Alexander serves as Yale’s Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies and the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry. She has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and the first Alphonse Fletcher St. Fellowship. Dr. Alexander is currently at work on an anthology of 300 years of African American poetry.