Faculty Book: Meena Alexander
Illiterate Heart (Triquarterly Books, 2002; 106 pp.)
Alexander explores, in her fifth full-length collection of poems, the life of the exile who must tirelessly "translate" one life into the next, with poems located in India, Europe, and the United States. Her subject matter includes an imaginary visit from the Persian poet Rumi to her New York apartment, a meditation on the Holocaust ("Low Hills of Bavaria"), evocations of an Indian youth redolent with sense impressions, and a reflection on fellow poet Allen Ginsberg's trips to her home country: "I see you young again / teeth stained with betel and bhang, / nostrils tense with the smoke of Manhattan, / ankles taut in a yogic asana, prickly with desire." Winner of a 2002 PEN Open Book Award, Alexander is distinguished professor of English at Hunter College and The Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: APR 17, 2002