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Elizabeth Alexander composed and recited "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry--including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize--and is the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She is the Thomas E. Donnelley Professor of African American Studies at Yale University.
"Alexander explores tensions inherent in gender and race and expresses the ambivalence of motherhood in jazz-inflected tones."--ELLE "Professor Alexander is a virtuosic writer and a shrewd analyst of American letters, a polyglot who moves fluently from essay to sonnet, from free verse to drama--and in her teaching, traces equally diverse themes."--Slate "[Alexander] seems much like Walt Whitman. She sings the American song."--Maya Angelou "In narratives sweetened by the lyric pulse and pierced through by felicitous turns of irony, Alexander chronicles the world of 'black and tan.' Her poems bristle with the irresistible quality of a world seen fresh."--Rita Dove, The Washington Post "Elizabeth Alexander is a student, and dare I say, master of the craft. Her work is inspirational in a way that The Great Gatsby...is inspirational, in that it just says so much about who we are."--The Atlantic Praise for Elizabeth Alexander "Elizabeth Alexander creates intellectual magic in poem after poem."--The New York Times Book Review "[Elizabeth Alexander] is gifted with an incredible ability to put words to meter and create profound meaning."--The Root "To call this book a riff would underplay its craft and exactitude."--Chicago Tribune "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is a celebration of life, a portrait of grief, and a lesson in the healing power of memory."--KMUW "Feel[s] authentic and true."--The Economist "[A] gorgeous and intimate tribute."--Newsday "An elegy that records, in hypnotic waves of love and grief."--New York Times, T Magazine "The Light of the World is crushing, lovely, painful, and above all powerful. It is difficult to believe that anyone who has suffered loss will remain unaffected by this marvelous book."--New York Journal of Books "She shows us how feeding your family and remembering to be aware of the small details of everyday life are the bedrocks of true connection. In this book of prose, each page is a poem."--O, The Oprah Magazine "A moving tribute to her late husband's memory and a deeply felt meditation on loss, love and literature."--Publisher's Weekly "Love - for a marvelous man, for her sons, for the textures and pleasures of the world - shines on every page of Elizabeth Alexander's THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. This acutely observed study of what it means to lose one's beloved is a profound and beautiful contradiction: a joyous book that faces head-on the deepest grief, written with art and courage, and with limitless heart."--Mark Doty "A radiant book of love's everlastingness and art's infinite sustenance."--Booklist (starred review) "With tenderness and fierce poetic precision, [Alexander] realizes a simple truth: that death only deepens the richness of a life journey that must push on into the future. A delicate, existentially elegiac memoir."--Kirkus "THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is as beautiful and moving as a gorgeous piece of music. The minute I finished it, I longed to read it again."--Anna Deavere Smith "This is a gorgeous love story, written by one of America's greatest contemporary poets. Graceful in its simplicity, sweeping in scope, this book is proof that behind the boarded up windows of America's roiled marriages and ruined affairs, true love still exists, and where it does exist, it graces the world-and us-with light and hope. Elizabeth Alexander is a prose writer of deep talent and affecting skill. With ease, she peels back layer after layer to show the soft secrets of affection, the kindness, and the wide open generosity of a full hearted man and talented artist, who had more love to give in his relatively short lifetime than most of us will ever know."--James McBride, National Book Award-winning author of The Good Lord Bird and #1 New York Times bestseller The Color of Water "Elizabeth Alexander has written a brave and beautiful book about love and loss-the deep pain that comes with such a loss, and the redemptive realization that such pain is a small price to pay for such a love."--Jeannette Walls, New York Times bestselling author of The Glass Castle "This is a beautifully written, heartrendingly candid account of the abrupt loss of her husband by the distinguished poet Elizabeth Alexander. It is a vivid, intensely rendered elegy of a remarkable man--husband, father, artist, chef. Both a memoir and a portrait of a marriage, The Light of the World is, as its title suggests, a bittersweet testament to love and the memory of love, one of the most compelling memoirs of loss that I have ever read."--Joyce Carol Oates "A deeply intimate and lyrical portrait."--Essence "In THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD, Alexander discovers a warmth that will remind some readers of the deeper truth of grieving: It is a sign of love."--New York Times Book Review "It is both raw and exquisitely crafted, mercilessly direct and sometimes lavishly metaphorical... THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD is, quite simply, a miracle."--Boston Sunday Globe "I just finished THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD by Elizabeth Alexander. It's a memoir about coping with the death of her husband, and it's magnificent."-- First Lady Michelle Obama, from an interview in The Skimm