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

"POL has opened my mind to many kinds of poetry. Before competing, my experience with poetry was limited to Dr. Seuss. I now find myself making literary references, having analytical conversations with my peers and mentors about poetry, and recalling poems throughout my day."
Mikayla Bates
2016 UT POL Champion