Q & A with Meena Alexander
Last night’s Meena Alexander poetry reading began with a gracious introduction from award-winning poet Jean Valentine (proudly sporting her Obama button!) in which she called Meena’s work “sensual and brave.” Meena read a selection of poems from her new collection, Quickly Changing River, including some of the poems that Jean said she most enjoyed — Raw Meditation on Money and Cutting Hair. Some of the other poems shared during the reading were Cosmopolitan, Old Ivory, Reading Leopardi and Acqua Alta. Before the event we had a few moments to chat with Meena. Here’s what we learned:
What books are you currently reading?
John Donne’s poetry, including A Nocturnal upon St. Lucy’s Day, which seemed appropriate, because of the eclipse happening this evening. I’ve also been reading On Suicide Bombing by Talal Asad, part of works I’m reading for a conference I’ll be attending in Venice this spring.
Is there anything you are looking forward to the publication of?
Well, I already have it but have not read it yet — Poems from Guantanamo.
What do you enjoy reading most, what are some of your favorites?
I enjoy the works of medieval Indian poets and classical Indian poetry. I edited a book of Indian Love Poems a few years ago. I gave a copy to Jean tonight, to thank her for joining me this evening.
We know you have visited our store before, do you shop here often?
Yes! All the books I’ve mentioned here — I’ve bought at Book Culture. I am happy to be able to support an independent bookshop, and I used to live close to your store in the neighborhood and have been here many times.