Acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and delivered the 2009 inauguration poem for President Obama, offers a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of family, art and community following the death of her husband in her memoir, The Light of the World. Poet Kevin Young, author of ten books of poetry, winner of the Lenore Marshall Award and a finalist for the National Book Award, gathers twenty years of highlights from his extraordinary career in his new compilation Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015. Longtime friends Alexander and Young share the stage for poetry, companionship, and to discuss their newest works: lyrical forays into life’s passages through grief and joy.
**Click here for photos and video from the event.
Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She has published six books of poems, two collections of essays, and a play. Her book of poems, American Sublime (2005), was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Associations “Notable Books of the Year.” Her play, “Diva Studies” (1996), was produced at the Yale School of Drama. Alexander is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. She is the former Chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University. Her memoir, The Light of the World, was published in 2015.
Kevin Young is the author of nine previous books of poetry, including Book of Hours; Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels, winner of a 2012 American Book Award; and Jelly Roll: A Blues, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the editor of The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink, and seven other collections. His book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and won the PEN Open Book Award. He is currently the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of both Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.