Elizabeth Alexander ’84 discussed her recently released collection of poetry entitled “Crave Radiance: New and Selected Poems 1990-2010” with the online culture magazine The Rumpus.

Alexander’s poems primarily focus on African American struggles and perspectives ranging from the condition of FEMA trailers after Hurricane Katrina to the events surrounding the rebellion on the slave ship Amistad, some of which took place in New Haven.

“[The Amistad poems] came from walking the streets to New Haven and thinking in a new way about that story as a story of the very place I lived. I wanted to explore the story as a New Havener and also as a Yale person, because Yale students and professors played a role in the story that hadn’t been explored enough, I thought,” Alexander said.

Alexander is currently the Chair of the African American Studies Department here at Yale.