After the Chief Justice administers the Oath of Office, the first person to speak to the American people and the world will be the new president. The second will be Elizabeth Alexander, whom President-elect Obama has chosen to read a poem she is composing for the momentous occasion.
Dr. Alexander is no stranger to the task of inspiring audiences. In 1997, the University of Chicago presented her with the Quantrell Award, which the university awards to faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching undergraduate students. She has published four books of poems and a book of essays, and she is the incoming chair of Yaleâ€™s African American Studies Department. In 2007, she was the first recipient of the Jackson Poetry Prize, awarded by Poets and Writers to honor poets who have published books of high literary merit but who have not yet met public acclaim. Her most recent book of poetry, American Sublime, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. (more)