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  • Meena Alexander

    Like so many artists and writers, I was saddened by the death last November of my dear and special friend, the writer/teacher/poet/editor, Meena Alexander. Among many other projects and activities, Meena contributed her poem, “Fragment – In Praise of the Book,” to the anthology, Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here. In 2013 I collaborated with Meena and used this poem to make a “cyanosphere” of text for the international artists' book project, An Inventory of Al-Mutanabbi Street.

    Fragment, in Praise of the Book

    Book with the word for love
    In all the languages that flow through me,
    Book made of leaves from a mango tree
    Book of rice paper tossed by monsoon winds
    Book of pearls from grandmother’s wrist
    Book of bottle glass rinsed by the sea
    —Book of the illiterate heart—
    Book of alphabets burnt so the truth can be told
    Book of fire on al-Mutanabbi street
    Book for a child who wakes to smoldering ash
    Book of singing grief
    Book of desire glowing as light pours

    by Meena Floyce Alexander