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  • Natasha Trethewey Interviews Elizabeth Alexander

    Elizabeth Alexander, Yale University

    10 December 2009

    Poets Natasha Trethewey and Elizabeth Alexander discuss real and imagined spaces and places, Upsouth and down home, in this October 16, 2009, interview in New Haven, Connecticut. Alexander also reads and comments on several of her poems.

    "Natasha Trethewey Interviews Elizabeth Alexander" is part of the Poets in Place series, a Research Collaboration in the Humanities initiative funded through Emory University’s Presidential Woodruff Fund, in collaboration with the Office of the Provost. Series producers are Natasha Trethewey and Allen Tullos.

    Interview with Natasha Trethewey

    Use the scroller to the right of the playlist to watch all seven parts of the interview. See a list of poem texts referenced below the player.


    Text of Poems Referenced

    About Elizabeth Alexander

    Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher born in New York City and raised in Washington, D.C. She has published several books of poems, including: The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life (1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), and American Sublime (2005), which was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Association's "Notable Books of the Year." In 2008, she composed and delivered "Praise Song for the Day" for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She is also the first 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," and is the 2007 winner of the first Jackson Prize for Poetry, awarded by Poets & Writers, Inc.

    Videography for this interview was provided by Sam McConnell and Lukas Hauser


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    Recommended Resources and Selected Writings

    Published Works

    Alexander, Elizabeth.. United Kingdom: Bloodaxe Books Ltd., 2006.

    ———. American Sublime. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2005.

    ———. Antebellum Dream Book. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2001.

    ———. Body of Life. Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, 1997.

    ———. Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. Honesdale, Pennsylvania: Front Street Press, 2007.

    ———. Poems in Conversation and a Conversation. Sleepy Hollow, New York: Slapering Hol Press, 2008.

    ———. Power and Possibility: Essays, Interviews, Reviews. Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of Michigan, 2007.

    ———. Praise Song for the Day. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2009.

    ———.The Black Interior. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2003.

    ———. The Venus Hottentot. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2004.


    Elizabeth Alexander

    Interview with Stephen Colbert

    New York Times: "Inaugural Poem."

    Online NewsHour: Poet Elizabeth Alexander Reflects on Inaugural Reading Elizabeth Alexander

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