Birthplace with Buried Stones -
Meena Alexander in Conversation with
Russell Leong

by Meena Alexander

[October 18, 2013]

6PM to 8PM

25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000
between 5th & 6th Avenues, Manhattan


Poet and Distinguished Professor, Meena Alexander will read from her new book of poetry, Birthplace with Buried Stones, and engage in a dialogue with Russell Leong, Editor of CUNY FORUM, about the creative processes she undertook to "convey the fragmented experience of the traveler, for whom home is both nowhere and everywhere."

Birthplace with Buried Stones (TriQuarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press, September 2013)

With their intense lyricism, Alexander’s poems convey the fragmented experience of the traveler, for whom home is both nowhere and everywhere. The landscapes she evokes, whether walking a city street or reading Basho in the Himalayas, hold echoes of otherness. Place becomes a palimpsest, composed of layer upon layer of  memory, dream, and desire. There are poems of love and poems of war -- we see the rippling effects of violence and dislocation, of love and its aftermath. The poems in Birthplace with Buried Stones range widely over time and place, from her native India to New York City. We see traces of mythology, ritual, other languages. Uniquely attuned to life in a globalized world, Alexander’s poetry is an apt guide, bringing us face to face with the power of a single moment, its capacity to evoke the unseen and unheard.



Advance Praise for Birthplace with Buried Stones

“With one hand on the things and textures of the material world and the other reaching into the mysteries beyond us, Meena Alexander does what poetry does best, conveying us from the Known to the Unknown with grace and formal care.” - Billy Collins

“Whether they spring from memory, history, that which lives in the world or that which lives chiefly in the imagination, the poems in Birthplace with Buried Stones lead us into the presence of stark, unmitigated, uncontestable beauty-a beauty capable of "swallow[ing] us whole." But they also prove something unsettling -- the violent evidence of history, the inescapable reality of death, the scars inflicted by desire. Alexander expertly casts her gaze upon the places where poetry-and here I mean deep feeling, weighty insight, inexhaustible inquiry-exists: in "that which is all around and will not let us be." - Tracy K. Smith

 “We have poetry // So we do not die of history,” Meena Alexander writes in this fully realized book of Lamentation and Memory, this collection of ancient places, shadowed by ghosts, but also filled with splendors, sacred gardens, beautiful singing. - Edward Hirsch






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25 West 43rd Street, Room 1000, New York, NY 10036   
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