Elizabeth Alexander

b. 1962
Elizabeth Alexander

Born in Harlem, Elizabeth Alexander was educated at Yale, Boston University, and the University of Pennsylvania, where she took her doctorate. She has been on the faculties at Haverford College, the University of Chicago, Smith, and is currently the chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale. Her first book, The Venus Hottentot, includes a tour de force monologue, spoken by Sara Baartman who was taken from South Africa and exhibited before European audiences as anatomical oddity. Other poems use a variety of voices, including the boxer Muhammad Ali, to address racial, gender, and cultural divisions. In 2009 she read one of her poems at President Obama's inauguration.

Poems

What People are Saying

"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion