"Words matter. Language matters. We live in and express ourselves with language, and that is how we communicate and move through the world in community. This is only the fourth time in our history that a President has featured a poet at his inaugural. I hope that this portends well for the future of the arts in our everyday and civic life." -- Elizabeth Alexander, December 2008
Join us for a lecture by Elizabeth Alexander, who was asked to compose a poem and deliver it at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Alexander, who is one of the most vital poets of her generation, is a professor of African-American Studies at Yale University. She is also the incoming chair of the department.
Alexander has published five books of poems: The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), American Sublime (2005) and Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color (2007), which she co-authored with Marilyn Nelson. Her two collections of essays are The Black Yale Interior (2004) and Power and Possibility (2007). Her play, Diva Studies, was produced at the Yale School of Drama. In 2007, Alexander won the inaugural Jackson Poetry Prize awarded by Poets & Writers, Inc. Her other awards include a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the George Kent Award and a Guggenheim fellowship.
This event was cosponsored by Gender and Women's Studies Program at University of Illinois at Chicago and The Public Square.
Recorded Tuesday, April 07, 2009 at University of Illinois at Chicago.