Inauguration Poet Elizabeth Alexander To Speak at Yale Thursday January 29

Yale University Professor Elizabeth Alexander will speak about her experience writing and presenting a poem at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, at a Master’s Tea on Thursday, January 29, at 4 p.m. in Ezra Stiles College, 19 Tower Parkway.

The event is free and open to the public.

Alexander, an award-winning poet and Yale professor of African American studies and English literature, was invited to present an original poem at the inauguration on January 20. She is only the fourth poet in modern American history to read at a presidential swearing-in ceremony. Her poem, “Praise Song for the Day: A Poem for Barack Obama’s Presidential Inauguration,” will be published as a commemorative chapbook by Graywolf Press on February 6. Alexander will have some advance copies on hand at the tea.

Alexander, who earned a B.A. degree from Yale, M.A. from Boston University and Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania, is the author of four books of poetry, two books of essays, a verse play and several scholarly works. In 2007, she was the first recipient of the $50,000 Jackson Prize for Poetry. Her other honors and prizes include the inaugural Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellowship for work contributing “to improving race relations in American society,” a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Chicago, the George Kent Award, a Guggenheim fellowship and a fellowship at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

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