Birthplace with Buried Stones

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-5239-7
Publication Date
September 2013
Page Count
140 pages
Trim Size
6.125 x 8.5

Birthplace with Buried Stones

Meena Alexander

With their intense lyricism, Meena Alexander’s poems convey the fragmented experience of the traveler, for whom home is both nowhere and everywhere. The landscapes she evokes, whether reading Bashō in the Himalayas, or walking a city street, hold echoes of otherness. Place becomes a palimpsest, composed of layer upon layer of memory, dream, and desire. There are poems of love and poems of war—we see the rippling effects of violence and dislocation, of love and its aftermath. The poems in Birthplace with Buried Stones range widely over time and place, from Alexander’s native India to New York City. We see traces of mythology, ritual, and other languages. Uniquely attuned to life in a globalized world, Alexander’s poetry is an apt guide, bringing us face to face with the power of a single moment and its capacity to evoke the unseen and unheard.
About the Author

Meena Alexander, Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, is the author of numerous books of poetry, including Quickly Changing River (2008), Raw Silk (2004), and PEN Open Book Award–winning Illiterate Heart (2002), all published by Northwestern. She is the author of the book of essays Poetics of Dislocation and the critically acclaimed memoir Fault Lines.


“‘We have poetry // So we do not die of history,’ Meena Alexander writes in this fully realized book of Lamentation and Memory, this collection of ancient places, shadowed by ghosts, but also filled with splendors, sacred gardens, beautiful singing.” —Edward Hirsch

“Whether they spring from memory, history, that which lives in the world, or that which lives chiefly in the imagination, the poems in Birthplace with Buried Stones lead us into the presence of stark, unmitigated, uncontestable beauty—a beauty capable of ‘swallow[ing] us whole.’ But they also prove something unsettling about the prevalence and necessity of all that is not beauty: the violent evidence of history, the inescapable reality of death, the scars inflicted by desire. Alexander expertly casts her gaze upon the places where poetry—and here I mean deep feeling, weighty insight, inexhaustible inquiry—exists: in ‘that which is all around and will not let us be.’” —Tracy K. Smith

“With one hand on the things and textures of the material world and the other reaching into the mysteries beyond us, Meena Alexander does what poetry does best, conveying us from the Known to the Unknown with grace and formal care.” —Billy Collins