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Acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander, who composed and delivered the 2009 inauguration poem for President Obama, offers a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of family, art and community following the death of her husband in her memoir, The Light of the World. Poet Kevin Young, author of ten books of poetry, winner of the Lenore Marshall Award and a finalist for the National Book Award, gathers twenty years of highlights from his extraordinary career in his new compilation Blue Laws: Selected & Uncollected Poems 1995-2015. Longtime friends Alexander and Young will share the stage for poetry, companionship, and to discuss their newest works: lyrical forays into life’s passages through grief and joy.

 

 

Elizabeth Alexander

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, essayist, playwright, and teacher. In 2009, she composed and delivered “Praise Song for the Day” for the inauguration of President Barack Obama. She has published six books of poems, two collections of essays, and a play. Her book of poems, American Sublime (2005), was one of three finalists for the Pulitzer Prize and was one of the American Library Associations “Notable Books of the Year.” Her play, “Diva Studies” (1996), was produced at the Yale School of Drama. Alexander is currently a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and the inaugural Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University. She is the former Chair of the African American Studies Department at Yale University. Her memoir, The Light of the World, was published in 2015.


Kevin Young

Kevin Young is the author of nine previous books of poetry, including Book of Hours; Ardency: A Chronicle of the Amistad Rebels, winner of a 2012 American Book Award; and Jelly Roll: A Blues, a finalist for the National Book Award. He is also the editor of The Hungry Ear: Poems of Food & Drink, and seven other collections. His book, The Grey Album: On the Blackness of Blackness won the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism, and won the PEN Open Book Award. He is currently the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and English and curator of both Literary Collections and the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library at Emory University.


Reservation Policy for Free Programs:
As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at approximately 7 PM.

 

Standby Policy:
Standby numbers are distributed in person only one hour before the program, on a first-come, first-served, basis. There is no advance wait list for full programs. Standby patrons will be admitted subject to availability. Most programs will be available via podcast.

 

Book Signing Policy:
ALOUD is one of many free programs at the Los Angeles Public Library made possible by the Library Foundation of Los Angeles. Most ALOUD author programs are followed by book signings. At least one copy of the author’s book must be purchased from The Library Store in order to participate in any post-program book signing, and you will be asked to show proof of purchase. Please be prepared to show your proof of purchase when you enter the book signing line. Proceeds support the Los Angeles Public Library.

 

Main image: The Sardine Fisherman’s Funeral, painting by Elizabeth Alexander’s late husband Ficre Ghebreyesus.

 


Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reservation policy for ALOUD?

    As most ALOUD at Central Library programs are free of charge, it is our policy to overbook. In the case of a FULL program your free reservation may not guarantee admission. We recommend arriving early. Space permitting, unclaimed reservations will be released to standby patrons at 7 PM.

  • Why do programs fill so quickly?

    ALOUD provides a unique experience for the public to engage with scholars, authors, and artists in the intimate 235-seat Mark Taper Auditorium. Library Foundation Members have the benefit of reserving for programs in advance of the public. Consider joining as a Member to receive this benefit, and check the website on an on-going basis for program availability. Be sure to subscribe to our email alerts, and visit our Media Archive for podcasts and other items from our recent programs.

  • Where does ALOUD take place?

    Unless otherwise noted, ALOUD programs are held at the downtown Central Library’s Mark Taper Auditorium.

  • Where should I park for ALOUD programs?

    We recommend taking public transportation. Parking for the Central Library is at the Westlawn Garage at 524 S. Flower Street. For more information, visit the Library’s website.

  • Should I purchase the author’s book in advance?

    We encourage you to purchase books from the Library Store. All proceeds benefit the Los Angeles Public Library. Books are made available for purchase when you reserve for a program online, and are also on sale at programs. In order to participate in the book signing, you must purchase at least one book from The Library Store. Members receive discounts on purchases.