Professor 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.
Professor Alexander is currently the Director of Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. She is the Wun Tsun Tam Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Columbia University. Professor Alexander served as on the faculty of Yale University for 15 years, including her tenure as chair of the African American Studies Department. Her memoir, The Light of the World, was released to widespread acclaim in April 2015.