Hunter College mourns the loss of our beloved colleague Meena Alexander. Meena’s peculiar vantage allowed her to observe many worlds, from her birthplace in India, to her growing up in Sudan, to her graduate work in England, to her Distinguished Professorship at Hunter.
Among us—with us—she wrote her many books of poems, criticism and memoir, and taught for over thirty years. She also brought this breadth of experience and an unmatched generosity of heart to her relationships with her students.
Meena’s humor, goodwill and essential kindness were matched by her dedication to finding common ground with her community, and these qualities are on abundant display in her work. Even though she often gave voice to the pain of migration and the shocks and disruptions of our trauma-ridden time, the sensuality and lyricism of her language always conferred a solacing clarity and grace. Meena has passed down to us a world “marked by many tongues” in which she helped and will continue to help us “to find a balance, to maintain a home at the edge of the world.”
She is survived by her husband, David Lelyveld and two children, Adam Kuruvilla and Svati Mariam. We extend our deepest condolences to her family.
A memorial service will be held on:
Monday, January 28 at 6pm
The Kaye Playhouse
Hunter College, North Building
(68th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues)
With profound sadness,
President Jennifer J. Raab