Meena Alexander

The Scotsman, November 28, 2018 | Go to article overview

Meena Alexander


Meena Alexander, poet and writer. Born: 17 February, 1951, in Allahabad, India. Died: 21 November in Manhattan, aged 67.Meena Alexander, a poet and scholar whose writings reflected the search for identity that came with a peripatetic life, including time in India, Africa, Europe and the United States, has died in Manhattan. She was 67.

In both prose and poetry, Alexander, a longtime professor at Hunter College, the City University of New York, explored themes of feminism, post-colonialism, dislocation, memory and more. She published numerous volumes of poetry, two novels and a memoir, Fault Lines (1993). Her writings were themselves the subject of a book, Passage to Manhattan: Critical Essays on Meena Alexander (2005).

The editors of that volume, Lopamudra Basu and Cynthia Leenerts, credit Alexander with creating "a new hybrid poetic form, which fuses the Western Romantic lyric tradition with non-Western ones of Bhakti and Sufi poetry," which came out of India.

In one essay in the book, Jacqueline Wigfall describes Fault Lines as "a production of sound, colour and texture that exceeds the function of autobiography, social history and political memoir."

Fault Lines, reissued in 2003, was indeed far more lyrical and exploratory than the average autobiography, a search for identity through the elusiveness of memory.

"What I have forgotten is what I have written: a rag of words wrapped around a shard of recollection," Alexander said in that volume. "A book with torn ends visible. Writing in search of a homeland."

It was a quest she also took up in her poetry. "The wind lifts up my life," she wrote in a poem called Dog Days of Summer, "and sets it some distance from where it was."

But that was just one of many themes in her poetry, which could be inspired by a fragmentary recollection from her childhood, an act of violence like the September 11 attacks, or anything in between.

"Meena Alexander's lyric poems embody her expert ability to craft scenes that draw on disparate cultural traditions to become simple, sonic and ultimately startling moments that remind us of the power of language and the gift of our humanness," Jennifer Benka, executive director of the Academy of American Poets, said by email.

Prageeta Sharma, in The Women's Review of Books, praised one of Alexander's best known collections, Illiterate Heart (2002), writing, "Her poems contemplate departures, arrivals and in-betweens of the soul."

Mary Elizabeth Alexander was born on 17 February, 1951, in Allahabad, India, four years after India gained its independence from Britain. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Meena Alexander
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.