New York Public Library | Stephen A. Schwarzman Building
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To mark the release of her elegiac memoir on love and loss, The Light of the World, poet and professor Elizabeth Alexander is joined by The New Yorker's Hilton Als in conversation.
Professor ELIZABETH ALEXANDER is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. She holds degrees from Yale University (B.A., English), Boston University (M.F.A., English), and the University of Pennsylvania (Ph.D, English). In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She has written 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 Association’s “Notable Books of the Year.” Her play, “Diva Studies” (1996) was produced at the Yale School of Drama. Professor Alexander is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. She is the former Chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University. Her upcoming memoir, The Light of the World, will be released on April 21, 2015.
HILTON ALS became a staff writer at The New Yorker in October, 1994, and a theatre critic in 2002. He began contributing to the magazine in 1989, writing pieces for The Talk of the Town. Before coming to The New Yorker, Als was a staff writer for the Village Voice and an editor-at-large at Vibe. He has also written articles for The Nation and collaborated on film scripts for Swoon and Looking for Langston. Als edited the catalogue for the Whitney Museum of American Art exhibition entitled Black Male: Representations of Masculinity in Contemporary American Art, which ran from November, 1994, to March, 1995. His first book,The Women, a meditation on gender, race, and personal identity, was published in 1996. His most recent book,White Girls, discusses various narratives around race and gender. In 1997, the New York Association of Black Journalists awarded Als first prize in both Magazine Critique/Review and Magazine Arts and Entertainment. He was awarded a Guggenheim for Creative Writing in 2000 and the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism for 2002-03. In 2009, Als worked with the performer Justin Bond on Cold Water, an exhibition of paintings, drawings, and videos by performers, at La MaMa Gallery. In 2010, he co-curated Self-Consciousness at the Veneklasen Werner Gallery in Berlin, and published Justin Bond/Jackie Curtis, his second book. Als has taught at Yale University, Wesleyan, and Smith College. He lives in New York City.
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