Meena Alexander

c. Marion Ettlinger

Meena Alexander was born in Allahabad, India. She has a B.A. Honors in French and English from Khartoum University and a Ph.D. from Nottingham University. She is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York and teaches Hunter College and the Graduate Center. Her works have been widely anthologized and translated. They include Illiterate Heart (winner of the PEN Open Book Award), Quickly Changing River, and the forthcoming Birthplace with Buried Stones. She has edited Indian Love Poems and published a critically acclaimed memoir Fault Lines (picked as one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of the year). Recent poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Harvard Review, Kenyon Review, and Threepenny Review.


Her poems have been set to music, including "Impossible Grace," which was the lyric base of the First Al Quds Music Award and "Acqua Alta," which was set to music by the Swedish composer Jan Sandstrom for the Serikon Music Group's climate change project.


She has two novels Nampally Road (1991/ 2012 – republished by Orient Blackswan) and Manhattan Music. She has two academic studies on English Romanticism, one of which is Women in Romanticism: Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth and Mary Shelley. Her writings on trauma, migration and memory, including The Shock of Arrival and Poetics of Dislocation, are relevant to the evolving understanding of post-colonialiality. A book of essays on her work has recently appeared: Passage to Manhattan: Critical Essays on Meena Alexander (eds. Lopamudra Basu and Cynthia Leenerts, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).



Birthplace with Buried Stones (2013 – forthcoming)

Impossible Grace: Jerusalem Poems (2012)*

Shimla (2012)*

Otto Poesie (2011)*

Quickly Changing River (2008)

Raw Silk (2004)

Illiterate Heart (2002)

River and Bridge (1995/ 1996)

Night-Scene: The Garden  (1992)*

The Storm: A Poem in Five Parts  (1989)*

House of a Thousand Doors (1988)

Stone Roots (New Delhi, (1980)




Poetics of Dislocation (University of Michigan Press, 2009)

Fault Lines: A Memoir (1993/new expanded edition 2003)

Manhattan Music (1997)

The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience (1996)

Nampally Road (1991/1992/ 2013)

Women in Romanticism: Mary Wollstonecraft, Dorothy Wordsworth and Mary Shelley (1989)

The Poetic Self: Towards a Phenomenology of Romanticism (1979)


Prefaces and Introductory Notes


Foreword to Indian Love Poems (Everyman's Library/Knopf, 2005)
'Buried Voices': Preface to Cast Me Out If You Will!: Stories and Memoir Pieces by Lalithambika Antherjanam (New York: Feminist Press, 1998)
'Bodily Inventions: A Note on the Poems' Guest Poetry Editor to 'The Body' -- Special Issue of The Asian Pacific American Journal vol.5 no.1, spring/summer 1996
'Translating Violence' Foreword to Blood into Ink, Twentieth Century South Asian and Middle Eastern Women Write War, eds. Miriam Cooke and Roshni Rustomji-Kerns ( Boulder: Westview Press, Spring l994)
Introduction to Truth Tales : Stories by Contemporary Indian Women Writers (New York: Feminist Press, Fall 1990) Editors Choice of Publisher's Weekly, 1990

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