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Minnesota State University, Mankato
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Poet Elizabeth Alexander to discuss writing Oct. 13

Poet, essayist and playwright Elizabeth Alexander will be the second 2011-’12 Good Thunder Reading Series guest on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Media Relations Office News Release [9-27-11]

Poet, essayist and playwright Elizabeth Alexander will be the second 2011-’12 Good Thunder Reading Series guest at Minnesota State University, Mankato on Thursday, Oct. 13.

Alexander will read from her published work in a free, public event at 7:30 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, Centennial Student Union. She will lead a discussion on the craft of writing at 3 p.m. in Ostrander Auditorium, and earlier in the day she will be interviewed on public-radio station KMSU 89.7 FM.

The reading and discussion are both free and open to students, faculty, staff and the public. The KMSU interview, part of the “Authors in Transit” series, will air Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. and Friday, Oct. 14, at 11 a.m.

Alexander composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. The poem has been published by Graywolf Press.

She has published five books of poems: The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, Antebellum Dream Book, American Sublime (one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists and an American Library Association “Notable Book”), and her first young adult collection (with Marilyn Nelson), Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color.

Her two collections of essays are The Black Interior and Power and Possibility, and her play, “Diva Studies,” was produced at the Yale School of Drama.

Alexander is the first recipient of the Alphonse Fletcher Sr. Fellowship for work that improves race relations. She won the first Jackson Prize for Poetry, as well as a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, the George Kent Award, a Guggenheim fellowship, and the Quantrell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at University of Chicago.

She is African American Studies chair at Yale University. She has degrees from Yale University and Boston University and completed her Ph.D. in English at the University of Pennsylvania.

This year’s Good Thunder Reading Series is funded by the Department of English, the College of Arts & Humanities, the Office of Institutional Diversity, the Nadine B. Andreas Endowment, the Eddice B. Barber Visiting Writer Endowment, the Robert C. Wright Endowment, and individual donors. It is made possible by a Prairie Lakes Regional Arts Council grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, appropriated by the Legislature. Library Services and the Barnes & Noble Bookstore offer additional assistance.

Those who want more information may call Candace Black, Department of English, at (507) 389-2680, or go to

Minnesota State Mankato, a comprehensive, doctoral university, is part of the Minnesota State Colleges & Universities system, which comprises 32 institutions across the state.

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