Smith College will present acclaimed poet and prose writer Meena Alexander at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 11, in Neilson Library Browsing Room. The event is free and open to the public.

meena-250Alexander has called herself a “woman cracked by multiple migrations.” Born in India, raised in Sudan, educated in England and currently a resident of New York City, she has drawn on experiences of trauma, exile, conflicting identity and the customs of four continents to produce eight books of poetry, a memoir and two novels.

Alexander’s work is a sensual hybrid that draws from the Western romantic tradition as well as Bhakti and Sufi heritage. Among her literary influences, she cites the Indian poets Jayanta Mahapatra and Kamala Das, as well as Adrienne Rich and Galway Kinnell. While her poems contain echoes of the ritual or mythological, intense self-reflection is their core.

Focusing on the fault lines and fractures between one culture and another, her rich verse on such vital issues as love, dislocation, terrorism and fanaticism sparks a vital discourse at the intersection of ethnic American, post-colonial and women’s studies. Poet Tracy K. Smith praised Birthplace of Buried Stones, Alexander’s most recent collection, for delivering us “into the presence of a stark beauty capable of swallowing us whole.”

A graduate of Khartoum University and University of Nottingham, Alexander has taught at Brown, Columbia, the Sorbonne and the University of Hyderabad among others. She currently teaches at Hunter College and the City University of New York.

For disability access information or to request accommodations, call (413) 585-2407. To request a sign language interpreter specifically, call (413) 585-2071 (voice or TTY) or e-mail All requests must be made at least 10 days prior to the event.

Alexander’s reading is supported by the Program for the Study of Women and Gender and will be followed by a book sale and signing. For further information, contact Jennifer Blackburn in the Poetry Center office at (413) 585-4891 or Ellen Doré Watson, Poetry Center director, at (413) 585-3368.