Elizabeth Alexander (born May 30, 1962)is an American poet, essayist, playwright, and a university professor.
Elizabeth Alexander was born in 1962 in Harlem, New York, and grew up in Washington, D.C. She received a B.A. from Yale University, an M.A. from Boston University (where she studied with Derek Walcott), and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.
Her collections of poetry include Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 (Graywolf Press, 2010); American Sublime (2005), which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; Antebellum Dream Book (2001); Body of Life (1996); and The Venus Hottentot (1990).
Alexander's critical work appears in her essay ... more »
Click here to add this poet to your My Favorite Poets.
Elizabeth Alexander Poems
I am lazy, the laziest girl in the world. I sleep during the day when I want to, 'til my face is creased and swollen,
The forsythia cascades quiver No breeze blowing any where else?
I get off the IRT in front of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture after riding an early Amtrak from Philly to get a hair cut at what used to be the Harlem "Y" barbershop. It gets me in at ten to ten. Waiting, I eat fish cakes at the Pam Pam and listen to the ladies call out orders: bacon-biscuit twice, scrambled scrambled fried, over easy, grits, country sausage on the side. Hugh is late. He shampoos me,
My mother loves butter more than I do, more than anyone. She pulls chunks off the stick and eats it plain, explaining
Praise Song For The Day
Each day we go about our business, walking past each other, catching each other's
On suffering, which is real. On the mouth that never closes,
Filene's department store near nineteen-fifty-three: An Aunt Jemima floor display.
Comments about Elizabeth Alexander
I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world. I sleep during
the day when I want to, 'til
my face is creased and swollen,
'til my lips are dry and hot. I
eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch, butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.
Sometimes come dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown, the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it. Many days
I do not exercise, only
consider it, then rub my curdy
belly and lie down. Even
my poems are ...