Friday, February 25, 2011

Women Who Write: Elizabeth Alexander

There are two talented women who write named Elizabeth Alexander. There is the one who delivered a poem at Obama's inauguration, and there is another, also a poet, also a fiction writer, and writer of many odd things that bend their genre. Here is an excerpt from her piece "Second Comings" in Prick of the Spindle

I had been warned by Mrs. Shirley, who taught me everything. She showed me how to bait a fishing hook, feign attention in Sunday School, and transfer a rabbit decal onto a dyed blue egg. In high school, when I pounded on her kitchen door flushed and hysterical, she drew me a bubble bath, wrapped me in a soft white towel that smelled of cloves, and took me to be fitted for a diaphragm. She persuaded Anne to keep it quiet. In 1996, after what we feared would be the last free election, Mrs. Shirley and I took a walk in Lemon Park. 
“Have some.” Mrs. Shirley tapped my arm with a silver flask. “When they come again—” she warned. 
They who?” I interrupted. 
“A tyrant’s minions. 
“They won’t be wearing tall black boots. They won’t be carrying shiny black batons. They won’t have swastikas on their sleeves.” 
“Then how—?” I asked. 
“Not by appearance, my darling. They’ll look like you.”

Prick of the Spindle Vol. 2.3 / 2008


  1. Sorry, Tim, I couldn't find much more on her either! Here's a piece from Archipelago:

    And if you have access, she's written for a religious studies magazine too:

    But do not be fooled, as there is ANOTHER Elizabeth Alexander in the Religious Studies department at the University of Virginia! A rather tough lady to find indeed.