Foreword by Leah Souffrant. Nightboat Books (paperback, 02/04/2020)
*New & Noteworthy: In Praise of Fragments (Nightboat), completed in the final year of Meena Alexander's life, brings together four long sequences: poems on Venetian Jewish poet Sarra Copia Sullam (1592-1641); lyric essays on Venice; memoiristic vignettes exploring Alexander's family history in Kerala; and poems about her time in Hyderabad. Accompanying the writings are a series of sumi drawings by Alexander and an afterword by Leah Souffrant. The poet traces a journey through multigenerational and international landscapes, scouring the fragments of memory, finding refuge in the senses, and solidifying a deep relationship with desire’s disparate objects. Wanting to ask about mourning the death of her grandmother, she resists, and writes instead, “A funny sound came from my throat. / I felt I had swallowed a bird that couldn’t fly.” Meena Alexander's posthumous collection soars.