Elizabeth Alexander is the poet for Barack Obama’s Inauguartion. She is a widely published author and a professor in the Department of African American Studies at Yale University.

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander

As reported in the Huffington Post, acclaimed poet Elizabeth Alexander is reading one of her poem’s at Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20. Alexander is the fourth poet in American history to read a poem at a presidential inauguration. She is preceded by Robert Frost at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and Maya Angelou and Miller Williams, who both read at President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations.

Biography of Elizabeth Alexander


Elizabeth Alexander was born in Harlem, New York City in 1962 and raised in Washington, DC. Alexander received her B.A. from Yale University and a Master’s Degree from Boston University. She received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Pennsylvania.

Her published books include The Venus Hottentot, Body of Life, Antebellum Dream Book, American Sublime, and Miss Crandall’s School for Young Ladies and Little Misses of Color, which she co-authored with Marilyn Nelson. She has also published two essay collections and written a play, Diva Studies, which was produced by the Yale School of Drama.

She is a past recipient of a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and two Pushcart Awards.

She currently teaches in the Department of African American Studies at Yale University. She previously taught at the University of Chicago, Haverford College, Smith College and the University of Pennsylvania.

More information is available at her website.

Below is a video of Elizabeth Alexander reading her poem at the Inauguration on January 20:

Elizabeth Alexander Poem