is a poet and professor of African American Studies at Yale University. She wrote and delivered "Praise Song for the Day" at Barack Obama's presidential inauguration. Her most recent book of poems is Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems, 1990-2010.
Ms. Alexander cites this classic essay that says that poetry "forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action."
In this poem, Ms. Alexander says that the late Lucille Clifton informed her fluid approach to "a very deep kind of ancestral understanding... that moves us into the future." Includes the audio of the poet reading her work.
The last poem of a longer work, Ms. Alexander puts this together with her poem "Autumn Passage" as an example of having those experiences of giving birth and the privilege of sitting with one near the end of life.
Listen to Ms. Alexander recite this poem with and without music. Which one do you like better? In our show she reads this after "Neonatology" and surprises herself with the appropriateness of the pairing.