Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher, who composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. Among her many awards was the first 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.”
Dr. Alexander has published five books of poems: The Venus Hottentot (1990), Body of Life(1996), Antebellum Dream Book (2001), 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;” and, most recently, her first young adult collection (co-authored with Marilyn Nelson), Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color (2008 Connecticut Book Award). She is also the author of two essay collections and a play.
Currently chair of African American Studies at Yale University, Dr. Alexander has taught numerous poetry workshops, and served as both faculty and honorary director of Cave Canem, an organization dedicated to the development and endurance of African American poetic voices.