Poet, novelist, literary scholar, and academic, Meena Alexander was born in Allahabad, India in 1951 to parents who belonged to the South Indian state of Kerala. Named Mary Elizabeth Alexander after her grandmother, she began writing poems under the name Meena Alexander, Meena being the name she was addressed to at home. Alexander’s oeuvre includes the award-winning collection of poems, 

Illiterate Heart

 (2002), which won the PEN Open Book Award, as well as 

Raw Silk


Indian Love Poems

 (2005), and 

Quickly Changing River

 (2008). She has also written two novels, 

Nampally Road

 (1991) and 

Manhattan Music

 (1997), a book of essays and poems, 

The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience

 (1996), two books of literary scholarship [among which 

Women in

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Citation: Pulugurtha, Nishi. "Meena Alexander". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 May 2011; last revised 15 August 2022. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=69, accessed 17 April 2024.]

69 Meena Alexander 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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