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Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010
     

Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010

by Elizabeth Alexander
 

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The first career retrospective by the award-winning poet Elizabeth Alexander, now available in paperback

We crave radiance in this austere world,
light in the spiritual darkness.
Learning is the one perfect religion,
its path correct, narrow, certain, straight.
—from "Allegiance"

Over twenty years,

Overview

The first career retrospective by the award-winning poet Elizabeth Alexander, now available in paperback

We crave radiance in this austere world,
light in the spiritual darkness.
Learning is the one perfect religion,
its path correct, narrow, certain, straight.
—from "Allegiance"

Over twenty years, Elizabeth Alexander has become one of America's most exciting and important poets, and her selection as the inaugural poet by President Barack Obama confirmed her place as one of the indispensable voices of our time. Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990–2010 gathers twenty pages of new poetry, along with generous selections from her previous work. The result is the definitive volume to date by this American master.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“Alexander is an unusual thing, a sensualist of history, a romanticist of race. She weaves biography, history, experience, pop culture and dream. Her poems make the public and private dance together.” —Chicago Tribune
Library Journal
"We crave radiance in this austere world," says Alexander, perhaps best known as President Obama's inaugural poet but a favorite of poetry lovers everywhere. This collection includes over 20 pages of new work.
Publishers Weekly
Alexander is now widely known as the poet who read her "Praise Song for the Day" at President Obama's inauguration, but as this first retrospective volume attests, that poem was preceded by a substantial and varied body of work composed over the past 20 years. Alexander's two primary themes, which are interwoven into almost all of her poems, are the traumas of African-American history and the microcosm of the family, where those traumas show some of their effects and where their healing begins. Early poems look for heroes among artists and ancestors, as well as political figures, as in "A Poem for Nelson Mandela": "On a rooftop of a prison/ in South Africa Nelson Mandela/ tends garden and has a birthday/ as my Jamaican grandfather in Harlem... / raises tomatoes." In later poems, Alexander delves into black pop culture: "Was the Black Nation whispering to me/ from the Jet magazines stacked on the floor," she asks in "Tending." The book's most powerful sequence is a long series of poems recounting the 1839 rebellion on the slave ship Amistad, whose rebels were sequestered in New Haven (where Alexander lives and teaches), sparking a controversial trial. A selection of new poems, including "Praise Song," closes this volume, which will cement Alexander's status as much more than the inaugural poet. (Oct.)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781555976309
Publisher:
Graywolf Press
Publication date:
11/13/2012
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
366,549
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 8.82(h) x 0.78(d)

Meet the Author


Elizabeth Alexander is the author of five previous books of poetry, including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and two books of essays, including The Black Interior. She is the chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University.

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