- Category: PA 2002
Meena Alexander, born in India, is presently Distinguished Professor of English and Women's Studies at Hunter College and the Graduate Centre, City University of New York. Her numerous publications have been translated into many languages including Malayalam, Hindi, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, French, German and Swedish. Alexander's memoir, Fault Lines, was selected as one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 1993, and her latest book of poetry, Illiterate Heart, has recently won the 2002 PEN Open Book Award. Meena Alexander's poetry and prose writings have been published in numerous magazines and included in many anthologies, such as Making Waves, Writing by Asian Women, The Oxford Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry, and in the CD Rom series: American Journey, and she has written prefaces for many other publications.
Meena Alexander has received numerous awards from various Arts Councils and Institutions, and she has been a Visiting Fellow at six different universities around the world. In 1998 she was a Member of the Jury for the Neustadt International Award in Literature, and she is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholar Award to India, 2002-2003. Having spent her childhood in India and North Africa, being educated in England and now living in America, Alexander has a special interest in questions of migration, trauma and memory. Her poetry emerges as a consciousness moving between the two different worlds of memory and present-day experience, lit by multiple languages. Her experience of exile is translated into the intimate exploration of her connections to both India and America. Drawing on the fascinating images and languages that her dual life has given her, Alexander deftly joins together contradictory geographies, thoughts, and feelings. Her current work involves a commission she has received from the Royal Festival Hall, London, to compose a poem on New York for Poetry International 2002.