Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama Inauguration Poem

Elizabeth Alexander was chosen to compose and read a poem at Barack Obama's Presidential Inauguration on January 20, 2009. She is only the fourth poet in history to be selected for such an honor. That poem, Praise Song for the Day, has just been published by Graywolf Press in a beautiful little chapbook for $8. Born in New York City and raised in Washington, DC, Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. She has degrees from Yale University and Boston University, and a PhD in English from the University of Pennsylvania. She has published five previous books of poems, one of which -- American Sublime -- was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize.

Professor Alexander is 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.” She is the 2007 winner of the first Jackson Prize for Poetry, awarded by Poets and Writers. Other awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the George Kent Award, given by Gwendolyn Brooks, a Guggenheim fellowship as well as the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at University of Chicago. She currently teaches in the Department African American Studies at Yale University. This book will make a great keepsake item to celebrate this remarkable moment in time.

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