Drawing on a childhood of abuse and segregation, writer and author Maya Angelou moved the nation. Works such as her 1978 poem, “And Still I Rise,” explored the effects of racism and sexism on personal identity, with a voice that married oral and written literary traditions. Jeffrey Brown discusses with Elizabeth Alexander of Yale University why the voice of Angelou resonates so profoundly. Continue reading
Poet Elizabeth Alexander “cant untether” herself from history, especially when reflecting on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. When she offered her own work in commemoration of the holiday, Alexander read four poems that travel through history to “give us a little bit more to chew on in thinking about what this day means.” Continue reading
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 recites an original poem at President-elect Barack Obama’s inauguration.