Elizabeth Alexander received two prestigious literary honors at the start of the new year: Alexander was named the first Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University on January 14; several days later came an announcement that Alexander had been elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Established in spring 2014 by Frederick Iseman, a Yale alum who majored in English, the Frederick Iseman Professorship “is the first endowed chair at Yale dedicated solely to the field of poetry,” as reported by Yale News, thus making Alexander the first professor to hold the title.
The role of Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, conversely, is an honor that has been held by a venerable cadre of American poets such as W.H. Auden, Adrienne Rich and John Ashbery. Along with Alexander, poets Linda Gregerson and Alicia Suskin Ostriker were also elected as chancellors to serve the six-year term.
Elizabeth Alexander has published numerous volumes of poetry, including American Sublime (2005), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. In 2009, Alexander delivered her inaugural poem, “Praise Song for the Day,” to commemorate the first election victory of President Barack Obama.
Photo Credit: Eliza Griffith