Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander is a renowned poet, essayist, educator, feminist, and cultural advocate. She has published several books of poetry, including The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, and American Sublime, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize in 2005. Dr. Alexander read “Praise Song for the Day” at the inauguration of President Barack Obama in 2009. Her memoir, The Light of the World, was a finalist for the Pulitzer prize in 2015. She has taught at Columbia and Yale University, and currently serves as the President of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Her poetry covers a wide range of themes, including meditations on popular culture, deep explorations of personal experience, reconstructions of dream sequences, and historical reclaimations.

In works such as The Venus Hottentot, she recovers the undertold histories and silenced voices of the past, and delves into the gaps and silences of the archive. As she notes, “The historian laments caesuras in the historical record; the artist can offer deeply informed imagining that, while not empirically verifiable, offers one of the only routes we may have to imagine a past whose records have not been kept precious.”[1]

In her collection, Antebellum Dream Book, as Dr. Alexander notes, she explores how "Race, gender, class, sexuality– our social identities– exist and have been 'always already' constructed in the dream space... Yet social identity, in unfettered dream space, need not be seen as a constraint but rather as a way of imagining the racial self unfettered, racialized but not delimited."[2] The forms of her poems range from sonnets, to surrealist free verse, to counter-narrative epics such as "Amistad".

In her essay collection, The Black Interior, the powerful economy of her language combines with her vivid imagery to explore an "inner space in which black artists have found selves that go far, far beyond the limited expectations and definitions of what black is, isn't, or should be."[3] Within these works Dr. Alexander often juxtaposes African American literature and popular culture, adopting a nuanced and inspired position on their interaction.

Dr. Alexander has been influenced by Rita Dove, Elizabeth Bishop, and Gwendolyn Brooks, among others. In her role as an instructor and mentor in universities and the Cave Canem Foundation, and in her role as poet and storyteller, she has deeply influenced many poets in turn.

In this interview, Meta DuEwa Jones interviews Elizabeth Alexander, touching on the themes of myth, history, colonialism, and visuality in her work. She also discusses her need for strong self-advocacy when dealing with publishing presses, the aesthetic and ideological motives behind her book covers, and her process and philosophy for writing.

Dr. Meta DuEwa Jones is a professor at UNC Chapel Hill, and a prolific theorist. She received her Ph.D. from Stanford in 2001. She has had papers published in MELUS, Callaloo, and ELH, among other journals. She has been included in several essay collections, and has published a book, The Muse is Music. Her scholarship often works at the intersection of African American literature, music, and visual art.

More Information:

Interviews: Poems: Essays: Other:

[1]:Alexander, Elizabeth. The Black Interior. St. Paul, Minnesota: Graywolf Press, 2004.

[2]:Ibid, 5.

[3]:Ibid, 5.

Preferred Citation:

Elizabeth Alexander Interview, 9/23/2004 (FF152). Transcribed and edited by Evan Sizemore, 2021-2022, part of the Mellon-funded AudiAnnotate Audiovisual Extensible Workflow Project. Based on video recordings made by WVPT to document the second Furious Flower Poetry Center decennial meeting, September 23-25, 2004. Part of the Furious Flower Poetry Center Conference Records, 1970-2015, UA 0018, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University Libraries, Harrisonburg, Virginia, media file FF152. Collection finding aid: https://aspace.lib.jmu.edu/repositories/4/resources/487.

Browser Directions:

Audio and video playback is activated by the timestamped annotation section you click in. Search field will find any word or phrase in the Transcription, Speaker or Environment annotation layers. Annotation layers can be ordered by Time (default), Annotation contents or Annotation layer labels by selecting the up/down arrows on the right. Speaker and Transcription layers are matching color-coded to facilitate reading.

Time Annotation Layer
6:29 - 6:30 [Laughter] Environment
7:42 - 7:43 [Laughter] Environment
15:52 - 15:53 [Laughter] Environment
20:01 - 20:02 [Laughter] Environment
20:32 - 20:34 [Laughter] Environment
28:25 - 28:26 [Laughter] Environment
36:27 - 36:28 [Laughter] Environment
36:39 - 36:41 [Laughter] Environment
36:44 - 36:45 [Laughter] Environment
36:47 - 36:48 [Laughter] Environment
36:58 - 36:60 [Laughter] Environment
38:20 - 38:26 [Laughter] Environment
0:07 - 0:09 -a, D-u capital E-w-a, J-o-n-e-s. Transcription
0:12 - 0:18 Elizabeth Alexander. E-l-i-z-a-b-e-t-h, A-l-e-x-a-n-d-e-r. Transcription
0:18 - 0:32 All right. Wow. Elizabeth, I wanted to start out by asking you a question that it seems to me your work really bears to mind. And it's about the relationship between your work and Transcription
0:32 - 0:34 the African diaspora, Transcription
0:34 - 0:43 particularly one of the things that I noticed about your work is that you really kind of both embrace ideas about race, but also question the boundaries of it. Transcription
0:43 - 0:53 If you think about "West Indian Primer," where you're talking about both your Jamaican ancestry and then how it moves beyond that, or if you think about your poem for Nelson Mandela, where you start Transcription
0:53 - 1:05 talking about, you know, "I am a Black daughter," but in a way that connects to the South African president, and in an interesting way. Could you talk about the relationship between your work and a Transcription
1:05 - 1:07 diasporic context? Transcription
1:07 - 1:17 Well, that reading that you just gave of that line, "I am a Black daughter," that break-- It seems to me, and I'm just now thinking about this, echoes Gwendolyn Brooks' great poem Transcription
1:17 - 1:29 where she talks about "I am a Black," "I am one of the Blacks," where she feels that to be called merely African American is limiting and almost in a way euphemistic. That it skips over an Transcription
1:29 - 1:34 understanding of how we are all connected to each other, across the globe. Transcription
1:35 - 1:47 Sometimes in our actual histories, in the case of the Jamaican grandfather there's a lot of personal history in my poems as you know, or in newer poems. My husband is from Eritrea, so now I have a Transcription
1:47 - 2:01 whole East African connection going on. But in a way, I think what we learn from those real histories is how complicated and sometimes nostalgic and sometimes full of fantasy, the idea of Africa is Transcription
2:01 - 2:02 for us. Transcription
2:03 - 2:14 You know, and I think that as African Americans, we have always tried to connect to that idea, because so much has been cut off and interrupted. But at the same time, it's a fantasy, Transcription
2:14 - 2:26 though I think it is a heartfelt and beautiful fantasy that has led many of us, myself included, to reading and learning and reaching out and exploration and trying to theorize in very personal terms: Transcription
2:26 - 2:32 What does it mean to be African people in this diaspora all across the world? Transcription
2:32 - 2:46 I think also one of the beautiful realities of the United States, and for me of growing up in Washington, DC, is that you met Black people from all over the world. And that's something I touch on as Transcription
2:46 - 2:53 well, something that was very important to my own African American grandmother growing up in Washington, DC. Transcription
2:53 - 3:06 She would go and sit on the steps of embassies, because it let her imagine the world. And so that was a fortunate thing to grow up with: just that sense that we are, we are a multi-people. Transcription
3:07 - 3:17 It's-- I love hearing you talk about that. Because in that poem that, where you actually invoke your grandmother sitting on the steps of embassy row, you have the line where you talk Transcription
3:17 - 3:27 about what is a princess like in 'Feminist Poem Number One', what is, uh, what your grandmother would call and say to her-- her international friends, I am an American Negro, right, and what is an Transcription
3:27 - 3:33 American Negro princess? And so in some ways, I think that hearing you talk about that-- Transcription
3:33 - 3:44 and then in that same poem you actually refer to your husband and then talk about, you know, as an Abyssinian. And so its interesting how, within the context of one poem, both in terms of gender Transcription
3:44 - 3:53 relationships, in terms of how that intersects our ideas about race and our ideas about kind of connections to Africa, that all gets kind of wrapped up into that, Transcription
3:53 - 4:05 as well as class, right? Because anytime you kind of invoke these ideas about the princesses, it's the sense of the grandmother who wants to travel to see the world and you have traveled to see the Transcription
4:05 - 4:11 world, right. Within the context of the line, for the poem the husband that takes you to the airport for a passport, which means of course that you're-- Transcription
4:11 - 4:12 Going somewhere. Transcription
4:12 - 4:24 You're going somewhere, right, and eventually coming back. And so I think that's really a useful way to think about it. But even domestically, I find that your work covers so many Transcription
4:24 - 4:37 different kinds of Black artists and authors and photographers and athletes from Mohammed Ali to James Van Der Zee to Paul Robeson to Romero Bearden, Transcription
4:38 - 4:51 and I'm wondering if you'd be interested in talking a little bit about, about myth, right, and Black mythic figures and major historical figures that seem to occur in your work. And I note that my Transcription
4:52 - 5:03 list-- at this moment I'm using Black male figures because we started, um I moved in a bit of a different direction, but even your, in, Nat Turner poem. Right? So if, would you comment on that? Transcription
5:03 - 5:17 Well yeah, I mean, I think our history, our culture is so rich, it's so under explored, it's so distortedly imagined, that it just has always seemed to me that that is an infinite Transcription
5:17 - 5:30 mother lode for poetry. I think in some ways, what that speaks to biographically is that I spent a lot of time in school and in universities, although when I think about the reading, that gave me my Transcription
5:30 - 5:34 information, very often, it was actually autodidactic study, Transcription
5:34 - 5:49 it was not always what I was learning in school. But nonetheless, that context, that idea of reading to know, reading as experience that is deeply, deeply felt, and taken in reading as being-- and Transcription
5:49 - 5:57 learning, as somehow on a, an equivalent plane to the things that you know from living your life without books. Transcription
5:57 - 6:11 You know, to those of us for whom culture is that important, I think it's important to assert that it's lived life, it's real experience. So calling all of that in, being a scholar of African American Transcription
6:11 - 6:22 culture, you know, it's what I teach, it's what I've been thinking about for a long time, I find that poems are a great place to work with that. That said, this whole idea of myth, you know, I, the Transcription
6:22 - 6:23 word Abyssinian, Transcription
6:23 - 6:23 Yes. Transcription
6:23 - 6:26 You know that that's, that's an old timey word, Transcription
6:26 - 6:26 Right, of course it is! Exactly. Transcription
6:26 - 6:29 That's not what you call people today, from Eritrea. Transcription
6:29 - 6:31 No, not at all! Of course, of course, I do know that, so. Transcription
6:31 - 6:41 So you know, that whole, you know that to me-- yeah, I think where did it come from? That was a magical word. One of those sort of elsewhere words, one of those elsewhere Black Transcription
6:41 - 6:49 people words, that has appealed to me from God knows what sources from as long as I can remember. Transcription
6:49 - 7:01 Yes, yes. Thank you so much. Well, it's interesting hearing you talk about kind of-- in that context, you being a scholar of African American culture, and a teacher in points being Transcription
7:01 - 7:11 the space where you're able to kind of explore this mother lode, because I'd actually like to talk a little bit about your newest work, 'The Black Interior'. And one of the things, you know, first off Transcription
7:11 - 7:18 that is different, right, is that it's a collection of essays obviously, unlike your previous three books before that. Transcription
7:18 - 7:31 And it strikes me that it is at once both scholarly, but also attempting to speak to a larger community that is not just dealing with issues of books, right, we have essays in there, one on Julia Transcription
7:31 - 7:41 Cooper, of course, so that's definitely in the kind of intellectual or readerly tradition. But you have an essay on Denzel Washington, right? You have an essay on Rodney King. You have an essay, my Transcription
7:41 - 7:42 goodness on Jet, right? Transcription
7:42 - 7:55 "Notes Toward a Notion of Race-Pride." And so there's a way in which I really see your work as working with both, kind of, the African American scholarly tradition in terms of literary culture, but Transcription
7:55 - 8:09 also and I think in important ways, more broadly, popular culture, right, in ways that I think, are useful for students, right? Because I know that, that you also teach. Could you talk about kind of Transcription
8:09 - 8:16 the role that you see Black Interior playing in the trajectory of your work as a writer? And-- Transcription
8:16 - 8:26 Yeah. Well, I mean, I think one of the things, you know, when you're taught close reading as a method in graduate study and undergraduate study English classes, it should be Transcription
8:26 - 8:29 applicable to anything that constitutes a text. Transcription
8:29 - 8:29 Yes. Transcription
8:30 - 8:42 So there was actually a wonderful article by Stanley Fish, your UIC colleague, at, in the New York Times where he was-- had his students do close readings of a speech by Bush, a Transcription
8:42 - 8:52 speech by Kerry. And he talked about repetition, assonance, all the, the-- what we think of as poetic devices of how people do or don't get their message across. Transcription
8:52 - 9:04 How language works on us. So I think those tools, we should be able to turn them anyplace. And while I do think that there are all kinds of things that you can say about, you know, "poetry is not Transcription
9:04 - 9:18 Jet magazine." But, at the same time, how does our culture manifest itself? How does it live in people who don't necessarily call themselves professional artists? And how do a lot of the issues Transcription
9:18 - 9:22 that are of importance in our poetry and in our popular culture cross back and forth. Transcription
9:22 - 9:38 I'm very interested in that. The book, as you know, was a long time coming, and in many ways that long time is a testimony to the challenges of finding a prose voice. You know, when an academic, a Transcription
9:38 - 9:50 more conventionally academic voice didn't feel like a jacket that fit. And at the same time, I wanted to bring in what I know as an artist, how I look at the world as an artist, Transcription
9:50 - 10:02 and I wanted to operate in a tradition of belles lettres that is exemplified by people like June Jordan, who's a very, very important figure to me, and who's an incredibly important essayist, and I Transcription
10:02 - 10:07 believe, has published more essays than any Black woman in history. Transcription
10:07 - 10:08 Yes. Transcription
10:08 - 10:10 I'm pretty sure that that's, that that's true. Transcription
10:11 - 10:26 And so what does it mean to, in the way that I love, to listen to a smart person with a wide field of reference, hold forth. Felicitously. I wanted to be that person in writing. Transcription
10:11 - 10:11 Yes. Transcription
10:11 - 10:44 And I think that actually also within Blackness, we, we have so many great raconteurs, we have so many oral geniuses who can hold forth, in a way that is just amazing. And so I think that somehow also Transcription
10:44 - 10:57 those patterns of address and argument were somehow underneath and in there as well. But finding that voice was challenging. And now that the book is out there, you know, my, my wish and my hope is Transcription
10:57 - 11:01 that it find its readers. And I think that's a slow process too. Transcription
11:01 - 11:02 Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Transcription
11:02 - 11:03 Yeah, but that's okay. Transcription
11:03 - 11:13 Right. Well, I-- well in, within the context of the readership or audience of 'Black Interior', I think different people will come to the book with different needs and expectations. Transcription
11:13 - 11:23 And so the nice thing about kind of the aspect of it being a work that looks at different aspects of Black culture in very diverse ways. Transcription
11:23 - 11:34 And also, I think, using a language that is not an academic straightjacket, you know, in terms of, as a scholar of African American literature, the tradition, in terms of the scholarly tradition, Transcription
11:34 - 11:40 there's certain expectations about language and kind of heightened language, or what is recognized or thought of as theoretical language. Transcription
11:40 - 11:53 And yet, I find in 'The Black Interior', if you think, for example of your essay on Michael Harper, who I know has been an influence on you, that there is a way in which you, you use insightful close Transcription
11:53 - 11:60 readings, right, of some of his, of his poems from 'Dear John, Dear Coltrane', and poems, on Bessie Smith, for example, Transcription
12:01 - 12:15 but not terminology, that someone who has not taken, you know, American poetry 101 at Yale University would not be able to understand. And I think that's really important terms of thinking about kind Transcription
12:15 - 12:22 of the artist and her relationship to community, right, and to audience in really, really useful ways. Transcription
12:22 - 12:33 And I think also there's something interesting, I haven't, I'm just thinking of it this very moment, but something interesting about hierarchy and apprenticeship, in the ways that Transcription
12:34 - 12:45 people are quoted, other experts and colleagues are quoted in the essays. But my dad read some of them in an earlier phase, he said, Why do you have to quote 10 people to say what you're trying to Transcription
12:45 - 12:48 say? Just say what you're trying to say, and-- you're a grown up. Transcription
12:48 - 12:49 Right. Transcription
12:49 - 12:57 Say what you're trying to say. But of course, you know, in, in academic writing, you have to quote 10 other people, who said what you said first, in order to say what you have to Transcription
12:57 - 13:14 say. And yet I do think that there is something within our oral communities about earning the right to speak, and about moving through ancestral wisdom and knowledge in order to have your moment to Transcription
13:14 - 13:21 hold forth. So I think that there are different ways of sort of moving through those channels, to your moment in the sun. Transcription
13:21 - 13:31 Oh, I'm glad you mentioned that. Because when you think about the kind of oral communities or oral culture in the way that it's associated with Black culture as an oral culture. Transcription
13:31 - 13:37 Though, of course, in terms of scholarship, people are questioning that as a too easy identification. Transcription
13:37 - 13:52 But one thing I noticed in your poetry is that, and you mentioned this at a conference at Yale a few years ago, where you're talking about kind of giving voice to Black female figures within our Transcription
13:52 - 13:59 history, that you seem to not be able to find in the historical record, a record of their voice, right? And so, Transcription
13:59 - 14:09 you have the poem "Yolande Speaks" right, in which you think about all the literature about Dubois, and even though you know, Gerald Horne has done a wonderful biography of Shirley Dubois, that Transcription
14:09 - 14:23 Dubois' daughter, right, his only daughter, we don't hear her voice as much in the historical record. And there's a there's a way in which, you know, poems such as that where you have her not only Transcription
14:23 - 14:25 have a voice but a perspective, right? Transcription
14:25 - 14:37 She's like: "I've laughed/ at my father's gloves// and spats," which both humanizes him but also gives her kind of a sense of distance from him to kind of have a perspective on, on him. Or your, your Transcription
14:37 - 14:49 first book of poetry, The Venus Hottentot, which, which opens with, you know-- although it opens with Cuvier by the time we get to Saartjie Bartman's voice, right, you have her being Transcription
14:49 - 14:57 insistently multilingual, right? I speak English, I speak French, I speak Dutch and I even speak "languages Monsieur Cuvier/ will never know have names". Transcription
14:58 - 15:12 There's a way in which I think that your work really does speak to the need for an awareness of this kind of orality as an aspect of Black culture without simplifying it. Transcription
15:12 - 15:27 Mm hmm. Yes. And I think also with that moment in Venus Hottentot, the idea that we always are trying-- we always know more than we manifest. And that really interests me, both Transcription
15:27 - 15:36 with myself, in my own continual-- I think it's a lifelong process of coming to voice, you know. You get there, okay, but then you keep moving forward, Transcription
15:36 - 15:50 and really trying to process and distill all the knowledge and all the wisdom. But we always know more than we manifest. And she is a great exemplar of that. And I think that's a very interesting Transcription
15:51 - 15:52 secret weapon. Transcription
15:52 - 15:53 Yes, yes. Absolutely. Transcription
15:53 - 15:54 That we need to think about. Transcription
15:54 - 16:04 Absolutely. I wanna actually shift to talk about the visuals, [inaudible] by talking about the oral. And I brought with me, my beloved copies of, Transcription
16:04 - 16:16 The babies! I'm sure they're your babies, but my copies of them. My duplicates, and one thing that really strikes me is your-- the, and I don't know what degree of control you have Transcription
16:04 - 16:04 The babies. Transcription
16:16 - 16:27 over this, whether it's your editors' choices, or whether you're involved in the selection of this, but the covers of your books, right, and the beautiful artwork that has-- and Black artwork, you Transcription
16:27 - 16:28 know, in particular-- Transcription
16:28 - 16:32 that has been a part of the process of your books. And I wondered if you could talk-- Transcription
16:32 - 16:33 Yes, absolutely. Transcription
16:34 - 16:39 a bit about each one. And I'm missing, I didn't bring with me, it's back in my office, the original, right, copy of The Venus Hott-- Transcription
16:39 - 16:40 But we can talk about that. Transcription
16:40 - 16:51 But if we could, I thought it would be really useful. Because so much of your work-- Although I've made that kind of oral comment, there's also a way in which you have so many poems Transcription
16:51 - 17:03 that really deal with the visual image, right, and the concrete visual image, with visual artists, Bearden, Monet and so forth. The photographers. But, but there's a way in which I sense your work, Transcription
17:04 - 17:13 and certainly in essays in The Black Interior, where you talk about how do Blacks relate to kind of the distortion of images of ourselves, Transcription
17:13 - 17:19 and culture and-- without feeling the imperative to just only create positive images. Transcription
17:19 - 17:20 That's right. Transcription
17:20 - 17:25 So if you could just talk about your book covers and visuality in general, I'd appreciate it. Transcription
17:25 - 17:38 Well, I've been very aggressive about controlling that. And with the first cover of The Venus Hottentot, that was University of Virginia press, many many years ago. And the Transcription
17:38 - 17:41 first cover that was-- I thought, let's see what they come up with. Transcription
17:42 - 17:54 As much as art is so important to me and as much as beautiful books are important to me. And what they came up with was a baby aspirin colored cover with scallop shells alluding as best I could see to Transcription
17:54 - 18:05 Venus de Milo rising up out of the sea. And I thought, okay, so if after reading that poem, that is the title poem of that book, all-- it sort of proves the thesis. Transcription
18:05 - 18:06 Yes. Transcription
18:06 - 18:18 You know, and what you see and what you imagine, is Venus de Milo coming out of the sea, and that the color in which you cast these poems is baby aspirin, pinky-peach. Transcription
18:18 - 18:18 Yes, yeah. Transcription
18:19 - 18:26 I got to take control of this. We, you can't sort of negotiate with that. You can't work with that. That's too far out. Transcription
18:26 - 18:27 That's so true. Transcription
18:27 - 18:38 So the the painting that I chose was a painting by Charles Alston, who's my great uncle, my mother's uncle, and it's called ballet dancer, and it's a picture of a Black woman-- Transcription
18:38 - 18:51 too bad the picture couldn't have been in color because you can see it's sort of yellows and olives. She looks a bit whiter colored than she actually is in the reproduction, but she has a kind of Transcription
18:51 - 18:53 physical composure. Transcription
18:53 - 19:04 That seemed to me to be very important as that relates to The Venus Hottentot. What does it mean to be that woman who's-- she's in leotards, her body is outlined and exposed, but yet, even though you Transcription
19:04 - 19:13 are being watched, your inner life is your own. That was what I thought was in that implacable face in that, in that painting. Transcription
19:14 - 19:24 And so ever after, you know I just, it was with 'Body of Life' which is Tia Chucha press, they were very excited to have me find my own cover, and this is by a great painter, who's a friend of mine, Transcription
19:24 - 19:38 Kerry James Marshall. And there's a lot of romantic dynamics in this book and this painting is called "Could This be Love". And just a fabulous painting with so many small details that you can just Transcription
19:38 - 19:39 about make up: Transcription
19:39 - 19:51 the calendar stained with her menstrual blood, the sculpture, the Africanesque sculpture in the background echoing her form. All that Kerry James Marshall does with the black black that is not the Transcription
19:51 - 20:08 color of anyone, but is a color of sort of mythos in a way. The songs in the background, he's saying, "What a woman, what a woman, what a woman." So there's just a lot you know, the, the Vodoun heart Transcription
20:08 - 20:09 in there. Transcription
20:09 - 20:24 So much going on, a very talky painting in a way that I think, communicates nicely with the paintings inside. Then in 'Antebellum Dream Book' again, the first cover that was given to me-- I said Transcription
20:24 - 20:31 again, I'm at a new press, a press that I love, let me see what they do. And it was a picture of, you know I said it looked like the cover to Sounder. Transcription
20:32 - 20:32 Oh my goodness. Transcription
20:32 - 20:44 There's a Black girl on a porch, screen door, basket of produce. And I said, so how do you read that book and make that cover? Again, it speaks to me to-- how are they seeing us? Transcription
20:44 - 20:45 Yes, absolutely. Transcription
20:45 - 20:55 How, with, with the book in-- and so I said, can't work with this, we got to just start all over again. And this painting is Bob Thompson's "The Garden of Music," which I just Transcription
20:55 - 21:04 adore. And because there are dream poems in the book, I felt that there was a very dreamlike quality, a surreal quality to these wonderful purple people. Transcription
21:04 - 21:17 And, you know, that, that it was a dreamscape in a way that I thought worked with the books, the poems inside. And then with Black Interior, we've spoken at the conference, Sonia Sanchez mentioned, Transcription
21:18 - 21:23 the great Elizabeth Catlett. And this image is called "The Black Woman Speaks". Transcription
21:23 - 21:24 So appropriate. Transcription
21:24 - 21:33 You know, and there it is. And as I talk about in the book, what you can't see on the picture, on the side, there is a sort of a spiral that's inscribed on her temple, if you were Transcription
21:33 - 21:46 to have a side view. And you know, the spiral is a symbol of infinity, and it seems to me that that it also suggests, it almost-- as though it's a drawing of what's inside the Black woman's head. Transcription
21:46 - 21:46 Yes, yes. Transcription
21:46 - 22:01 An infinite, infinite spiral. And Catlett made this work in about 1970, when she herself was a very, very mature artist, mother of grown children. Which connects with my Transcription
22:01 - 22:16 conversation of Gwendolyn Brooks, at the same point more or less in her life. A very senior woman, a very acclaimed artist, nonetheless subject to change, responsive to the times. Transcription
22:16 - 22:18 Willing to evolve. Transcription
22:18 - 22:28 Willing to evolve. And I think that, that was-- in addition to just that it's, it's a ravishing piece of work, it's a beautiful, beautiful sculpture. And it's it's also a nice Transcription
22:28 - 22:40 picture of a sculpture, which is hard to do sometimes. But to me, you know, I'm interested in artists' careers over time, you know, want to be in it for the long haul. And so and that's why it's so Transcription
22:40 - 22:42 fortunate to be here with people like Sonia and Lucille. Transcription
22:43 - 22:45 Because you see that long, tradition. Long tradition. Transcription
22:45 - 22:53 Long, and you know, and that these are people who have also-- I have small children, these are people who have raised children, who have made a life in the arts. Transcription
22:53 - 22:58 And mothers, and wives, and partners and all of these things and still been artists, Transcription
22:58 - 22:58 Yes. Transcription
22:58 - 23:03 And scholars, and in so many ways and theorists of Black culture, right. And so. Transcription
23:03 - 23:10 Yes, yes, yes. And so that's, those are the women that give me power, you know. Transcription
23:10 - 23:22 Me as well. I can definitely identify with that. Thank you so much for that. I want to ask a more just simply basic question, since I've been-- How do you know when you are ready to Transcription
23:22 - 23:24 start or finish a poem? Transcription
23:25 - 23:37 Ooh. Well at this conference I have felt really ready to start a lot of poems. I think that being around poetry and being around people who make poetry makes new poems happen, you Transcription
23:37 - 23:51 know. It's like this incredible, biodynamic thing that, that happens, you just sort of-- you take a word, you take a line, you take a sort of a modal imprint, and the poems are ready to come. Transcription
23:52 - 24:01 And then for me, as for all of us, there's always the question of time, and where to find-- you know, I love that Lucille Clifton, when she was talking about what it was to have four children in Transcription
24:01 - 24:05 diapers at the same time. And she said to the audience, you think you're busy? Transcription
24:05 - 24:06 Right. Right. Absolutely. Transcription
24:06 - 24:17 And she has spoken about actually how the ideal circumstances for her to write poetry became domestic chaos. Because that's what it was. You know, that if you know, she says, Transcription
24:17 - 24:27 one-- you're at the kitchen table, and one child's got the measles and the other child's got the homework and that everything is going on. Nonetheless, you somehow make that space. And I am working to Transcription
24:27 - 24:36 do that as I think whether or not we have children we're always, in the midst of our lives, we all have to make a living. No poet is supporting him or herself solely by the word. Transcription
24:36 - 24:50 So you're trying to make that bubble, or develop the habit that says, at least in my bag, the notebook is always there. Although, because driving ends up sometimes to be the only free time there is. Transcription
24:51 - 24:60 Can't quite write the things down as well, you know, on the road, as well as you would like to. So it's that feeling though, which I'm having now which I'm having after this conference of being full Transcription
24:60 - 25:01 up. Transcription
25:02 - 25:14 And then you know, then there's process, process, process. But then the ready to be done with it is a tricky thing as well. I was speaking with some students recently about how you sort of go as far Transcription
25:14 - 25:26 as you can, and then you leave it and come back to it after it's had time to sit. And then you can more clearly see, okay, was I just tired? Was I just out of ideas? Or maybe this really is done. Transcription
25:27 - 25:40 Or maybe now I can see what the final tweak is. And I have poems that have remained in folders for years and years and years and years, snippets for years, that then you find, okay, this is how I can Transcription
25:40 - 25:42 use this. This is how I can complete this. Transcription
25:43 - 25:45 Do you revise your work alot? Transcription
25:45 - 25:57 Oh, yeah. Yeah. But I mean, hopefully, what happens when you get lucky, is that there's a rush in the beginning, that at least gets a large chunk sketched out. Though, that then Transcription
25:57 - 26:05 also will be revised and revised and revised. But I like when there's enough-- that mysterious enoughness to put the poem over the cliff. Transcription
26:06 - 26:06 Absolutely. Transcription
26:07 - 26:17 I can feel when I'm like, uhh, I'm not at the edge of the cliff. So I'm not there. And sometimes that stuff gets wasted or lost. But you know, one must be Zen about these things. Transcription
26:18 - 26:19 You know, nothing is wasted. Transcription
26:19 - 26:30 Nothing, nothing, nothing. And do you have a favorite poem? Is there a poem of yours that you just-- I know, for example, I've memorized a number of your poems but this is as someone Transcription
26:30 - 26:40 who's not-- is coming to it from a different perspective. And I'm just curious if, if you've memorized some of yours, do you have any poems that you just go like, I love this? Or is it each new poem Transcription
26:40 - 26:42 is the favorite, or--? Transcription
26:42 - 26:54 Yeah, yeah. There are some that I'm extra proud of mostly because of the work. You know, 'The Venus Hottentot', I worked very, very hard on it, to keep those two voices distinct Transcription
26:54 - 27:08 and consistent, and to really take myself into a very, very other world of imagination. So I was proud of it as work. In this new collection, I have a really long, a 25 page poem on the Amistad. Transcription
27:09 - 27:21 I've been working on it for years. I've done a ton of research. You know, I'm proud of it, because it was hard, good work. And I tried to be meticulous and faithful. I mean, you know, you always are, Transcription
27:22 - 27:27 but maybe it's the-- it's easier to be proud of the sort of bigger projects in a sense. Transcription
27:28 - 27:46 But I think also moments in poems where I know I have been true, when I could have been cute? Meaning, just clever or, you know, a fancy word but maybe not the right word, or you know, a wonderful Transcription
27:47 - 27:52 music, but only for its own sake, and not furthering anything in the poem. Transcription
27:53 - 28:07 You know, moments where I have avoided cuteness or showiness, which has been ingrained in me as a modus operandi from a very early age. You know, my grandmother, if anyone said, you know, to any child Transcription
28:07 - 28:21 in her world, you know, oh, you know, what a pretty little girl. 'And she is a very nice child'. You know, 'and she is a very bright girl. And she's a very kind girl'. That was-- and you know, with Transcription
28:21 - 28:24 such a voice that said, you know, so don't even try. Transcription
28:24 - 28:26 You can't even try to count on the cute. Don't count on the cute. Transcription
28:26 - 28:37 Don't even puff up. Don't even puff up, you know, because it's the values of what make you a good human being. That that's what's important. So I think that as-- that's an, Transcription
28:37 - 28:44 actually a very useful poetic value as well too. Just because you can doesn't mean you always should. Transcription
28:44 - 28:55 And so that you see that translation between them. Well, I actually have a poem that I'd like to hear you talk about, and it appeared in The New Yorker. That is, well, I have a Transcription
28:55 - 29:05 number of favorite things, poems, on your corpus. But it's certainly one that I would love to hear you talk about. And it's "When". Transcription
29:05 - 29:16 Yes, well that, just this morning at the conference, Honorée Jeffers gave a great paper about blues, sort of a manifesto on blues poetics. And she was talking about different Transcription
29:16 - 29:25 elements that make a contemporary blues poem. Because we're at a fascinating moment, you know, we're not Langston, we're not Sterling. We're not inventing the form of the blues poem in the middle of Transcription
29:25 - 29:28 that music being widely distributed in record form. Transcription
29:29 - 29:40 It's incredible when you read those Hughes and Van Vechten letters, when they're sending blues lyrics back and forth. Because as, you know, it's one thing to go and the dishwasher on the ship is Transcription
29:40 - 29:45 singing the blues. But you know, for for records to be available. I mean, these are letters in the '20s. Transcription
29:45 - 29:46 Absolutely. Transcription
29:46 - 29:57 So it's new so I mean, wow, it-- hats off to Langston and then to Sterling Brown for making the form in poetry, literary form that nonetheless comes out of the blues. But we're in Transcription
29:57 - 30:11 a different moment. And what is the blues today and how is the blues aesthetic an element of African American culture that comes out in all sorts of different ways that aren't necessarily immediately Transcription
30:11 - 30:15 identifiable as what Murray would call the blues as such, right? Transcription
30:15 - 30:26 So she was talking about the blues, and she said that "When" was a poem that she taught as a blues poem? And I said, Well, isn't that interesting? It's a sonnet. And to me, it was a sonnet in the mode Transcription
30:26 - 30:38 of the Hayden sonnets, specifically "Those Winter Sundays" in Frederick Douglass, which I think redefine what a sonnet can be. And then where my thinking took me, and I thought, well, what Transcription
30:38 - 30:45 makes "Those Winter Sundays" such a great Hayden sonnet is that the blues cracked open the sonnet form. Transcription
30:45 - 30:46 Absolutely. Transcription
30:46 - 30:51 And literally, the blues cracks open that poem. You know, "What did I know, what did I know?" Transcription
30:51 - 30:53 "Of love's austere and lonely offices?" Right? Transcription
30:53 - 31:04 I mean, you know, What did I know? You can just hear it spoken like that. So that reanimated the form. And I think it got at a way of talking-- you know, if the blue note is the Transcription
31:04 - 31:14 space between the black and the white keys, I think that the blue note is a space of nuance, that is what I'm trying to explore in that poem. Transcription
31:15 - 31:28 It's the nuance that is very specific about talking about these particular Black men, though it begins with a sweeping sort of magical generality. "In the early 1980s, the black men/ were divine", you Transcription
31:28 - 31:30 know, all of them, the Black men. Transcription
31:30 - 31:33 Could you read that? Would you be willing to read it? Now, would you all mind? Transcription
31:33 - 31:34 Yeah, sure. Should I? Transcription
31:34 - 31:35 Yeah, I'm just-- are you gonna read it later today? Transcription
31:35 - 31:37 I was gonna read it later today. Oh, so we don't need to. Transcription
31:37 - 31:38 Oh, so then you don't need her to read it. Transcription
31:38 - 31:39 Okay. All right. Transcription
31:39 - 31:39 Oh I'm sorry. Transcription
31:39 - 31:40 All right. No, that's okay. Transcription
31:40 - 31:41 Okay then, yeah. Transcription
31:41 - 31:47 Um, but so, so, you know, there's that sort of sweeping beginning and then all of these particulars about these amazing Black men. Transcription
31:47 - 31:48 Okay. Transcription
31:48 - 31:52 You know, their style, their brilliance, their fabulosities, you know they-- Transcription
31:52 - 31:53 Their reading, they all quote Fanon. Right. Transcription
31:53 - 32:05 That's right, I mean, you know, who are these men? And these were, these were-- I'm thinking specifically of a few men in the poem, particularly the poet Melvin Dixon. Who was so Transcription
32:05 - 32:16 important to me, who died of AIDS, who, you know, to imagine him at this conference. And the likes of him, the likes of Essex Hemphill. Transcription
32:16 - 32:27 You know, this is such a ghosty conference. And that was made visible to us last night, when we saw the people who have passed, and thinking, you know, about a June Jordan-- you know, all of the not Transcription
32:27 - 32:34 here, not here, not here, not here. But Melvin was important to me also, because he was a real man of letters. Transcription
32:35 - 32:46 I met him when he was on a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale when I was an undergraduate. He had already lived abroad, he had lived in Africa and France. That was just too fabulous for me, it was like Transcription
32:46 - 32:60 the, you know, it was just very cool. And that he had translated, Senghor's work, he had translated criticism, was a poet, was a fiction writer, and didn't have any issues. You know, he said, if Transcription
32:60 - 33:04 anyone has an issue with my working in these different modalities, that's their problem. Transcription
33:06 - 33:22 You know, had his PhD, but just reconciled it all. And he was a very, very, very important model to me and was a kind, kind, big brother. In-- to me, he really, really was. Which is part of why I was Transcription
33:22 - 33:36 so proud to to edit and bring out his last collection, 'Love's Instruments', a very great book. Yeah, that I'm happy is available. So he was-- anyway, he and others were behind that poem. Transcription
33:36 - 33:37 We have time for one more. Transcription
33:37 - 33:38 Okay. Transcription
33:38 - 33:39 Okay, so this is the Regen-- Transcription
33:39 - 33:40 A short question and a short answer. Transcription
33:40 - 33:42 Okay. We'll be Chris. Transcription
33:42 - 33:50 Okay so the short question that-- So the Chris question is the, um, well you're editing me so I can just say this, it's The Regenerating the Black Poetic Tradition question. You Transcription
33:50 - 34:02 talked about Dixon being a big brother to you, and being so kind and generous, and so forth. And I certainly know, the younger generation of African American writers and poets, particularly, have all Transcription
34:02 - 34:05 spoken of you so highly as a mentor, Transcription
34:05 - 34:17 and as someone who has not only influenced them, but pushed them both in terms of the craft and the crafting of their verse. I believe it's Kevin Young, who in the anthology 'Giant Steps' says that, Transcription
34:17 - 34:27 you know, you start that-- you're the first in that anthology by accident of your last name, but in fact, he says it's most appropriate because you really are seen as at the forefront, right of this Transcription
34:27 - 34:31 generation of writers born from 1960 forward Transcription
34:31 - 34:47 in that you've worked in so many genres, like Melvin Dixon, who you've spoken about, in certain ways. Could you talk just briefly about what Black poetic tradition means to you, and how you see Transcription
34:47 - 34:49 yourself fitting within that? Transcription
34:50 - 35:04 Well I, almost nothing makes me happier than those people recognizing, because I love them. And I can't even believe, you know, Kevin Young was in college and came to one of my Transcription
35:04 - 35:15 poetry readings. And now I mean then he was a peer but now he's a different kind of peer. I mean, all of those people are on their second and third-- well you know, Honorée Jeffers, Van Jordan, Transcription
35:15 - 35:17 Terrence Hayes, Natasha Tretheway. Transcription
35:17 - 35:17 Major Jackson. Transcription
35:18 - 35:31 I mean Major Jackson, it's, it's an incredible, incredible moment. It really, really is. And I think that we are getting, never enough, but more of the institutional support that Transcription
35:31 - 35:35 helps make our work visible. And that's really, really important. Transcription
35:36 - 35:48 More of our books are available in more places. That's really important. Because, you know, Third World Press can't do everything. Broadside Press can't do everything. And these presses that have Transcription
35:48 - 36:02 excluded us need to just join the-- join the new century, you know, if they missed the last century. And that's beginning to happen, people are teaching that makes a big difference. People are Transcription
36:02 - 36:07 distinct from each other, people are having their arguments, and that's important too. Transcription
36:07 - 36:10 Absolutely the disagreement. I agree, and I-- Transcription
36:10 - 36:19 So it's, it's an amazing amazing time I think and we're lucky to also have our elders with us to be able to look back and wonder. Transcription
36:19 - 36:23 And we're lucky to have you. We really are. Thank you. Transcription
36:23 - 36:25 Okay. Great, great. Transcription
36:26 - 36:29 Don't move. Now I just want you looking at the camera, this is the TV tech stuff. Transcription
36:29 - 36:29 Okay. Transcription
36:29 - 36:30 Alrighty. Transcription
36:30 - 36:33 Talk to each other about anything just not at the same time I'm just getting cutaways and then I'm gonna [inaudible]. Transcription
36:33 - 36:33 Alrighty. Transcription
36:33 - 36:33 Okay. Transcription
36:34 - 36:35 I am so happy right now. Transcription
36:35 - 36:36 I know! Transcription
36:36 - 36:38 You are such a great interview. You really are. Transcription
36:38 - 36:43 Oh, but you're interviewing me! If it were others I could be sullen and wordless. Transcription
36:43 - 36:46 Oh, I can't imagine that as ever being possible. Transcription
36:46 - 36:48 How can anyone not have a good conversation with you? Transcription
36:50 - 36:51 George you can get me a shot of that [inaudible]? Transcription
36:51 - 36:55 I'm so glad I brought the books, they're so beautiful. Transcription
36:56 - 36:57 This is my first child. Transcription
37:01 - 37:03 [inaudible] can maybe go to the next one. Transcription
37:01 - 37:01 Okay. Transcription
37:01 - 37:01 Okay. Transcription
37:01 - 37:01 [inaudible] 'Body of Life' Transcription
37:03 - 37:03 Body of Life Transcription
37:03 - 37:08 [inaudible] top of it towards me. Transcription
37:08 - 37:10 Top of it towards you. Okay. Transcription
37:33 - 37:46 Okay. Were you able to get much over her shoulder when they were talking about [inaudible]? I love your choices. It was [inaudible] hearing the stories. Transcription
37:49 - 37:60 Well the next one, the next book is called American Sublime from the Philadelphia Museum. And I wanted to have a, yeah, 19th century painting because of the long Amistad poem. Transcription
37:60 - 38:03 I have to tell you something. I knew that [inaudible]. Transcription
38:03 - 38:04 When is that coming out? Transcription
38:05 - 38:12 One year. And that's, that's the negotiated-- the weight has been cut. Yeah. Transcription
38:13 - 38:14 Oh, really [inaudible]. Transcription
38:14 - 38:15 And Meta, where are you? Transcription
38:15 - 38:17 I teach at George Washington University Transcription
38:17 - 38:18 Do you want her to put that book down? Transcription
38:19 - 38:19 Oh. Thank you Judith! Transcription
38:19 - 38:19 Yeah. Transcription
38:19 - 38:25 Just do two things! Both [inaudible]. Transcription
38:25 - 39:18 Right. Right. Transcription
0:07 - 0:09 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
0:12 - 0:18 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
0:17 - 0:32 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
1:07 - 1:17 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
3:07 - 3:17 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
4:11 - 4:12 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
4:12 - 4:24 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
5:03 - 5:17 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
6:23 - 6:23 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
6:23 - 6:26 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
6:26 - 6:26 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
6:26 - 6:29 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
6:29 - 6:31 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
6:30 - 6:41 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
6:48 - 7:01 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
8:16 - 8:26 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
8:29 - 8:29 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
8:29 - 8:42 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
10:07 - 10:08 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
10:08 - 10:10 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
10:10 - 10:26 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
10:11 - 10:11 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
11:01 - 11:02 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
11:02 - 11:03 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
11:03 - 11:13 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
12:22 - 12:33 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
12:48 - 12:49 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
12:49 - 12:57 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
13:20 - 13:31 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
15:12 - 15:27 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
15:52 - 15:53 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
15:53 - 15:54 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
15:53 - 16:04 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
16:03 - 16:16 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
16:04 - 16:04 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
16:32 - 16:33 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
16:33 - 16:39 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
16:39 - 16:40 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
16:40 - 16:51 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
17:19 - 17:20 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
17:19 - 17:25 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
17:25 - 17:38 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
18:05 - 18:06 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
18:06 - 18:18 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
18:18 - 18:18 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
18:19 - 18:26 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
18:26 - 18:27 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
18:26 - 18:38 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
20:32 - 20:32 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
20:32 - 20:44 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
20:44 - 20:45 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
20:44 - 20:55 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
21:23 - 21:24 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
21:24 - 21:33 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
21:45 - 21:46 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
21:46 - 22:01 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
22:16 - 22:18 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
22:18 - 22:28 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
22:43 - 22:45 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
22:45 - 22:53 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
22:53 - 22:58 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
22:58 - 22:58 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
22:58 - 23:03 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
23:03 - 23:10 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
23:10 - 23:22 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
23:25 - 23:37 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
24:05 - 24:06 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
24:06 - 24:17 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
25:43 - 25:45 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
25:45 - 25:57 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
26:06 - 26:06 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
26:07 - 26:17 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
26:19 - 26:30 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
26:41 - 26:54 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
28:24 - 28:26 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
28:26 - 28:37 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
28:43 - 28:55 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
29:05 - 29:16 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
29:45 - 29:46 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
29:45 - 29:57 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
30:45 - 30:46 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
30:46 - 30:51 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
30:51 - 30:53 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
30:53 - 31:04 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:30 - 31:33 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
31:33 - 31:34 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:34 - 31:35 Speaker Unknown Speaker
31:35 - 31:37 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:37 - 31:38 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
31:38 - 31:39 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:39 - 31:39 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
31:39 - 31:40 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:40 - 31:41 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
31:41 - 31:47 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:47 - 31:48 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
31:48 - 31:52 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
31:52 - 31:53 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
31:53 - 32:05 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
33:36 - 33:37 Speaker Unknown Speaker
33:37 - 33:38 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
33:38 - 33:39 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
33:39 - 33:40 Speaker Unknown Speaker
33:40 - 33:42 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
33:41 - 33:50 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
34:50 - 35:04 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
35:17 - 35:17 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
35:18 - 35:31 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:07 - 36:10 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:10 - 36:19 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:19 - 36:23 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:23 - 36:25 Speaker Unknown Speaker
36:29 - 36:29 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:29 - 36:30 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:30 - 36:33 Speaker Unknown Speaker
36:33 - 36:33 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:33 - 36:33 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:34 - 36:35 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:35 - 36:36 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:36 - 36:38 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:38 - 36:43 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:43 - 36:46 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:46 - 36:48 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
36:50 - 36:51 Speaker Unknown Speaker
36:51 - 36:55 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
36:56 - 36:57 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
37:01 - 37:03 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
37:01 - 37:01 Speaker Unknown Speaker
37:01 - 37:01 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
37:01 - 37:01 Speaker Unknown Speaker
37:03 - 37:03 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
37:03 - 37:08 Speaker Unknown Speaker
37:08 - 37:10 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
37:33 - 37:46 Speaker Unknown Speaker
37:49 - 37:60 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
37:59 - 38:03 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
38:03 - 38:04 Speaker Unknown Speaker
38:05 - 38:12 Elizabeth Alexander Speaker
38:13 - 38:14 Speaker Unknown Speaker
38:15 - 38:17 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
38:17 - 38:18 Speaker Unknown Speaker
38:18 - 38:19 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker
38:19 - 38:25 Speaker Unknown Speaker
38:25 - 39:18 Meta DuEwa Jones Speaker

Elizabeth Alexander Interview, 9/23/2004 (FF152) at JMU Scholarly Commons.

IIIF manifest: https://JMU-AudiAnnotate.github.io/FFPC-Video-Transcriptions/ff152/manifest.json