Poetics of Dislocation

Meena Alexander

A prominent poet brings the experience of the world to her struggles to find her place in America, and explores what the many cultures in this country mean for poets practicing their craft


Poetics of Dislocation sets the work of contemporary American poetry within the streams of migration that have made the nation what it is in the twenty-first century. There are few poets better qualified to muse on that context than Meena Alexander, who spent her life studying at prestigious institutions around the globe before settling in the United States to work on her acclaimed body of poetry.

Part of the University of Michigan Press's award-winning Poets on Poetry series, Poetics of Dislocation studies not only the personal creative process Alexander uses, but also the work of other prominent writers. Alexander discusses what it means to come to America as an adult to write poetry, and her place—and that of others—in the collection of cultures that makes up this country. She outlines the dilemmas that face modern immigrant poets, including how to make a place for oneself in a new society and how to write poetry in a time of violence worldwide.

Praise for Meena Alexander

"[T]here's a movement here that challenges and enchants. Meena Alexander is a truth-teller who knows how to make language do anything and everything she desires."
—Yusef Komunyakaa

"Meena Alexander's lines are like 'fire in an old man's sleeve, / coiled rosebuds struck from a branch. / Our earthly world slit open.' These are luminous poems."
—Arthur Sze, author of The Redshifting Web

"[B]oth evocative and moving . . . Although Alexander has lived in many places, including the Sudan and England, and done many things, she finds common ground in her expressive language."
Publisher's Weekly

Meena Alexander was born in Allahabad, India and grew up there and in the Sudan. At the age of eighteen she traveled to England to study, returning afterward to India. She lives and works in New York City, where she is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her six volumes of poetry include Illiterate Heart, which won the PEN Open Book Award; Raw Silk; and Quickly Changing River. Her autobiography, Fault Lines, chosen as one of Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 1993, appears in an expanded post 9/11 edition. She is the editor of Indian Love Poems and author of two novels, two academic studies and a book of poems, and essays entitled The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience. She is the recipient of  Guggenheim, Fulbright, Rockefeller, NEH, Arts Council of England, and other fellowships.

Praise / Awards

  • "What is fascinating about Poetics of Dislocation (and the 'Poets on Poetry' series to which it belongs) is the space provided for making connections between creative and academic writing. ... Alexander’s vision demands rigorous questioning of ideological constructs, and this extends even to the self."
    Contemporary Women's Writing

News, Reviews, Interviews

Read: Review Contemporary Women's Writing | November 2010 
Read: Review Khabar Magazine (Page 32) | January 1, 2010

Media Kit

Product Details

  • 5.375 x 8.
  • 216pp.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07076-3

Add to Cart
  • $84.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2009
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05076-5

Add to Cart
  • $26.95 U.S.



  • Poetry, Poetics, Migration,  Memory, India,  Asian American, Women's writing