Elizabeth Alexander Reflects on Inaugural Reading

BY newshourpoetry  January 13, 2009 at 3:05 PM EST

Only a few poets have participated in the swearing-in ceremony for our nation’s highest office, and on Jan. 20, 2008, Elizabeth Alexander will become just the fourth to hold that honor when she will recite an original poem at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.

Alexander was born in Harlem, raised in Washington, D.C., and attended Yale University, where she now teaches African American Studies.

She is the author of four books of poetry, including her most recent, “American Sublime,” which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2005.

Transcript: Elizabeth Alexander: A Poet for the Obama Inauguration

Elizabeth Alexander reads three of her poems in this web exclusive.

Watch Elizabeth Alexander perform her poem, “Praise Song for the Day” at the 2009 Inauguration of President Barack Obama.