The Light of the World: A Memoir

About the Author

Elizabeth Alexander composed and recited "Praise Song for the Day" for President Barack Obama's 2009 inauguration. She is the author of six books of poetry—including American Sublime, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize—and is the first winner of the Jackson Prize for Poetry, and a National Endowment for the Arts and Guggenheim fellow. She is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University.

The Light of the World: A Memoir

# 715420

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Elizabeth Alexander

A deeply resonant memoir for anyone who has loved and lost, from acclaimed poet and Pulitzer Prize–finalist Elizabeth Alexander.


In The Light of the World, Elizabeth Alexander finds herself at an existential crossroads after the sudden death of her husband. Channeling her poetic sensibilities into a rich, lucid prose, Alexander tells a love story that is, itself, a story of loss. As she reflects on the beauty of her married life, the trauma resulting from her husband's death, and the solace found in caring for her two teenage sons, Alexander universalizes a very personal quest for meaning and acceptance in the wake of loss.


The Light of the World is at once an endlessly compelling memoir and a deeply felt meditation on the blessings of love, family, art, and community. It is also a lyrical celebration of a life well-lived and a paean to the priceless gift of human companionship. For those who have loved and lost, or for anyone who cares about what matters most, The Light of the World is required reading.

  • Softcover
  • 5.2 x 8 inches
  • 240 pages
  • Published: 2016


Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Biography Finalist

National Book Critics Circle Awards Autobiography Finalist

New York Times Bestseller

First Lady Michelle Obama's Favorite Book of 2015

New Yorker, NPR, Boston Globe, Publisher's Weekly, Newsday, and Library Journal Best Book of 2015 Pick

New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice

Amazon's Best Book of the Month, April 2015

IndieBound Indie Next #1 Pick, May 2015

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