Read Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 by Elizabeth Alexander Online


The first career retrospective by the award-winning poet Elizabeth Alexander, including her poem delivered at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration We crave radiance in this austere world, light in the spiritual darkness. Learning is the one perfect religion, its path correct, narrow, certain, straight. —from "Allegiance" Over twenty years, Elizabeth Alexander hThe first career retrospective by the award-winning poet Elizabeth Alexander, including her poem delivered at Barack Obama's presidential inaugurationWe crave radiance in this austere world, light in the spiritual darkness. Learning is the one perfect religion, its path correct, narrow, certain, straight. —from "Allegiance" Over twenty years, Elizabeth Alexander has become one of America's most exciting and important poets, and her selection as the inaugural poet by President Obama confirmed her place as one of the indispensable voices of our time. Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990–2010 gathers twenty pages of new poetry, along with generous selections from her previous work. The result is the definitive volume to date by this American master....

Title : Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010
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ISBN : 9781555975685
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010 Reviews

  • Suzi Baum
    2018-12-04 13:26

    This is a stunning collection of poems. My words dwarf. Just read it.

  • Diann Blakely
    2018-12-03 16:21

    Having followed Alexander's work for many years, my sole complaint with CRAVE RADIANCE is that it isn't fatter--indeed, I've thought more than once how interesting small pamphlets, along the lines of that made by Graywolf for "Praise Song for the Day," could be devised for Alexander's "dream poems" and for those about hair. Harlem-born, Alexander moved early to Washington: woven into her heritage is her father’s part in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, specifically the “Great Society” and its tapestry of programs. Too many of these have unravelled, and too frequently has Alexander been labelled “our most recent inaugural poet,” for she has, since that time, published a second book of essays, POWER AND POSSIBILITY; this edition of selected poems; and one of the pieces in Katharine Coles’ indispensable collection, BLUEPRINTS. Subtitled "Bringing Poets into Communities," a free download awaits at http: www.poetryfoundation/org/blueprints.  I had another reminder of Alexander in a recent poetry and "back-to-school days" article by David Bielspiel in THE OREGONIAN, which ends with what he calls a good description of the art's idiosyncrasy and timelessness: The poem with which he closes is from AMERICAN SUBLIME, also published by Graywolf (2005) and one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. CRAVE RADIANCE itself is a nominee for the prestigious Hurston/Wright Award, whose winner will be announced November, 2011 (

  • Jasonlylescampbell
    2018-12-13 13:15

    This was very good. The poems, as I had heard when she was interviewed, are in celebration of her culture. They invited me in (what all books do) and I was able to see beauty and also find lots of connection. Here are a few bits that I enjoyed:Tending (I think that was the title it was a poem about her father ... getting their breakfast ready, cutting the fruit):I could feel the heft of unuttered love in his tendingour small bodies, love a silent, mammoth thing that overwhelmed me. There were series of poems about historical happenings: one on Amistad the famous slave ship and court drama that followed its arrival. And another about Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color. It was from the book was named:"Allegiance"Teacher is bewildered when packagesand letters come from far to say how brave,how visionary, how stare-down-the-beastis Prudence Crandall of Canterbury.Work, she says, there is always work to do,not in the name of self but in the name,the water-clarity of what is right.We crave radiance in this austere world,light in the spiritual darkness.Learning is the one perfect religion,its path correct, narrow, certain, straight.At its end it blossoms and billowsinto vari-colored polyphony:the sweet infinity of true knowledge.

  • John Otto
    2018-12-01 19:21

    This is a collection of poems written by Elizabeth Alexander over the last 20 years. One of Ms. Alexander's poetry books was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize. She read her poem, "Praise Song for the Day," at Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009. She has won a number of poetry awards and is chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale. So, obviously, smarter people than me think she is a great poet. It would take more chutzpah than I have, a simple, unlearned Amish boy, to criticize this book. I just know what I like. And I don't like this poetry.I suppose the purpose of publishing a book of mostly previously-published poetry by a particular author is to show how the author has developed over the years. I will grant you that the latter poems appeal to me more than the early poems. (So, why not just leave out the early poems? Because I don't know what I'm talking about when I don't like these poems. They're great; they must be great because the experts have said so.) It's not that I hate all poetry. When I'm inaugurated as president, I want Julia Kasdorf to read one of her poems. Or, if she is busy, Billy Collins will do. Elizabeth Alexander? I'll let her sit on the platform, but no poetry please.

  • Zara Raab
    2018-12-04 20:33

    In the poem “Passage,” Elizabeth Alexander movingly tells the story of a slave who escapes his master by hiding in a coffin; elsewhere she captures the outsider experiences of contemporary blacks, as in “Apollo,” when a black family pulls over in New England to watch TV footage of the first moon walk, their blackness strangely unnoticed because the astronauts are “stranger, stranger/even than we are.” With her expressive feel for the texture and rhythms of its culture, Alexander is a lyric historian of African American life, peopling her poems with artists, athletes, statesmen, heroes and poets of different times and places: photographer James Van Der Zee, painter and collagist Romare Rearden, singer Josephine Baker, boxer Muhammad Ali, Kashmiri poet Agha Shahid Al, musicians Ornette Coleman and Thelonious Monk. Alexander also draws on her middle class upbringing in Washington, D.C., but there is much here, too, about becoming an adult, a wife, and a mother. Following Robert Frost, poet of John Kennedy’s brief presidency, Alexander delivered a poem at Barack Obama’s inauguration. Chair of African American Studies at Yale, she has published steadily since //The Venus Hottentot// in 1990. //Crave Radiance// includes poems from each of her five books, plus 15 new poems.

  • Nan
    2018-11-26 17:22

    Elizabeth Alexander writes poems primarily of the African-American experience with great clarity and passion. Her "Praise Song for the Day" was delivered at Obama's 2009 inauguration and includes the following: "Say it plain: that many have died for this day,/Sing the names of the dead who brought us here,/who laid the train track, raised the bridges,/ picked the cotton and the lettuce, built/ brick by brick the glittering edifices/ they would then keep clean and work inside of./Praise song for struggle, praise song for the day/Praise song for every hand-lettered sign,/the figuring-it-out at kitchen tables.../In today's sharp sparkle, this winter air,/anything can be made, any sentence begun."That was a moment.

  • Luis Correa
    2018-11-26 13:11

    I let out the most unimpressed "Meh!" after I finished. She's got three amazing poems in there. Maybe if I had read the books on their own terms rather than the selected poetry, I tend to feel this way after collections. As a poet, overall, though, Alexander doesn't do it for me.

  • Karlan
    2018-11-28 15:33

    The poetry is historic and personal telling stories for all to appreciate. "Praise Song for the Day" was delivered at President Obama's inauguration.

  • Susan
    2018-12-13 13:12

    So very beautiful

  • Rion Scott
    2018-12-14 13:31

    I need to make friends with the president.

  • Caroljean
    2018-12-17 17:24

    She inhabits historical figures and makes them real.