Elizabeth Alexander, an acclaimed poet, author and professor, has been elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board, Columbia University announced today.
At the Ford Foundation, where she began work last year as the Director of Creativity and Free Expression, Alexander shapes and directs grant-making in arts, media and culture. She guides efforts to examine how cultural narratives affect and shape social movements and how media and the arts, including film and visual storytelling, can contribute to a fairer and more just society.
Alexander has written six books of poetry, including American Sublime, a finalist for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize, two collections of essays and a critically acclaimed memoir, The Light of the World, a 2016 Pulitzer finalist. Her writing explores such subjects as race, gender, politics, art and history. Among her acclaimed essays, “‘Can You Be BLACK and Look at This?’: Reading the Rodney King Video(s)” and “Meditations on ‘Mecca’: Gwendolyn Brooks and the Responsibilities of the Black Poet” have enlivened debate on the role of art and social justice and addressed issues of race, representation, violence and the vulnerable black body. In 2009, she wrote and delivered her poem “Praise Song for the Day” for President Barack Obama’s first inauguration.