The Poetry Center Celebrated its “Roots” Dec.4

Read more about poets Elizabeth Alexander, Karl Kirchwey, Meredith Martin '97, and Abe Louise Young '99.

Poet Elizabeth Alexander


The Poetry Center at Smith College celebrated its "roots" with a poetry reading on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007, by poets and alumnae who helped establish the center in 1997.

Elizabeth Alexander's poems concern race, gender, politics, and motherhood. A scholar of African-American literature and culture, she recently published a collection of essays, The Black Interior. She is the author of four books of poems, The Venus HottentotBody of LifeAntebellum Dream Book, and her most recent book American Sublime, which was one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. Alexander was Conkling Poet at Smith from 1997-1999, and the first director of the Poetry Center. Read more...

American Sublime by Elizabeth Alexander

Poet Karl Kirchwey
The Happiness of This World by Karl Kirchwey

Karl Kirchwey's poetry reveals the classical resonances in contemporary life. Kirchwey has published four volumes of poetry, most recently The Happiness of This World, and his work has been widely anthologized, in volumes such as Poetry After 9/11: An Anthology of New York PoetsThe Best of the Best American Poetry 1987-1998, and After Ovid: New Metamorphoses. Kirchwey served as Conkling Poet at Smith 1995-1997. Read more...


Poet Abe Louise Young '99
Hip Deep: Opinion, Essays, and Vision from American TeenagersAbe Louise Young, ’99, assisted Elizabeth Alexander in the first two years of the Poetry Center. She completed her M.F.A. at the University of Texas at Austin, and has published poems, essays, and reviews in many journals and anthologies. She also edited Hip Deep: Opinion, Essays, and Vision from American Teenagers and is Founder and Director of Alive in Truth: The New Orleans Disaster Oral History ProjectRead more...
poet Meredith Martin '97
Meredith Martin, Smith class of '97, studied poetry at Smith with Karl Kirchwey and Annie Boutelle, and helped develop the proposal for a Poetry Center. Martin earned a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Michigan, and teaches at Princeton University. Her specialties include Victorian, Edwardian, and Georgian poetry, 20th century lyric theory, and poetry of the First World War. Martin is at work on two book-length projects, The Rise and Fall of Meter: Poetic Form and English National Culture, 1880-1920 and I'm Nobody or I'm a Nation: Colonial Metrical Education and the Formation of Poetic Identity, as well as articles on Gerard Manly Hopkins and Robert Bridges. Read more...

Link to past SC Libraries Poetry Center Readings resource pages.

Please note: Some links from this page are available to all without restriction. Others are restricted for off-campus access to current Smith students, faculty, and staff. To connect, enter your Smith GroupWise email username and password when requested.


Biography in Context
Includes entries from Contemporary Authors Online for <Elizabeth Alexander> (updated 2007) and <Karl Kirchwey> (updated 2004).

Online Texts

Expanded Academic Index
Search by keyword for or to find or link to texts, reviews, and poems. Use SC Links to connect to full text.

Internet Resources

Internet Site Access
American Academy of Poets - Elizabeth Alexander
Elizabeth Alexander
Includes poems, interviews, audio, reviews, events, and teaching resources
Minnesota Public Radio (Real Player)
Interview with Elizabeth Alexander, October 2005
Karl Kirchwey (Faculty webpage, Bryn Mawr)
Poems and biographical notes
Poetry Daily
2 Poems by Karl Kirchwey "The War" and "Homecoming"
Modernism/Modernity 14.1 (2007) 35-54
"Therapeutic Measures: The Hydra and Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital" by Merdith Martin
Abe Louise Young
Links to books, poetry, workshops, articles, news, and contact information
Alive In Truth: The New Orleans Disaster Oral History and Memory Project
Louise Abe Young, Founder and Director


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