The Shock of Arrival: Reflections on Postcolonial Experience

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South End Press, 1996 - 223 pages
In this book, acclaimed South Asian American poet and novelist Meena Alexander unleashes a fury of prose and poetry to confront the stereotypes and explore the challenges facing postcolonial immigrants in America. Commenting on the history of memory, language, shame, and exile, Alexander poignantly describes the wealth of experiences and imaginings that have shaped her life and writing. Her project: "to make space for what was crossed out in the decorum of femininity, in the high places of classical hierarchy, in the racism of a canonical knowledge, in the obliterations of a national memory ... all this is part of our task, part of the violent, fractured worlds that we must etch into beauty".

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About the author (1996)

Meena Alexander was born Mary Elizabeth Alexander in Allahabad, India on February 17, 1951. She received a bachelor's degree in English and French at the University of Khartoum in 1969 and a Ph.D. in English at the University of Nottingham in 1973. She taught at the University of Delhi, the University of Hyderabad, Fordham University, the City University of New York Graduate Center, and Hunter College. She wrote numerous volumes of poetry, two novels, and a memoir entitled Fault Lines. Her collections of poetry included Stone Roots, House of a Thousand Doors, Illiterate Heart, Poetics of Dislocation, Birthplace with Buried Stones, and Atmospheric Embroidery. Her novels included Nampally Road and Manhattan Music. She died from endometrial serous cancer on November 21, 2018 at the age of 67.

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