Beyond Baroque’s poet-in-residence Will Alexander presents his new poetry collection, Divine Blue Light (For John Coltrane) Pocket Poets Series No. 63--published by City Lights. A new collection of poems from the intersection between surrealism and afro-futurism, where Césaire meets Sun Ra. Divine Blue Light further affirms Alexander’s status as one of the most unique and innovative voices in contemporary poetry. To celebrate this publication, he will be joined in conversation by another of Los Angeles’ iconic literary legends: Kamau Daáood, poet, activist, and co-founder of The World Stage Performance Gallery.
Against the ruins of a contemporary globalist discourse, which he denounces as a “lingual theocracy of super-imposed rationality,” Will Alexander’s poems constitute an alternative cartography that draws upon omnivorous reading—in subjects from biology to astronomy to history to philosophy—amalgamating their diverse vocabularies into an impossible instrument only he can play. Divine Blue Light is anchored by three major works: the opening “Condoned to Disappearance,” a meditation on the heteronymic exploits of Portuguese modernist Fernando Pessoa; the closing “Imprecation as Mirage,” a poem channeling an Indonesian man; and the title poem, an anthemic ode to the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane.
Doors open: 6:30 pm.
Born in 1948 in Los Angeles, Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher, visual artist, and musician. He has published over two dozen books in a variety of genres and has earned many honors and awards including a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry, a California Arts Council Fellowship, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award, and the 2016 Jackson Poetry Prize. He has also exhibited his artwork in group and solo shows. His work is known for its visionary, oracular surrealism and the influence of Negritude. Among his publications are Refractive Africa (New Directions, 2021/Granta, 2022), which was named a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry and won the California Book Award for Poetry, The Combustion Cycle (Roof, 2021), Across the Vapor Gulf (New Directions, 2017), and The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (New Directions, 2009). His book Compression & Purity (2011) was volume five in the City Lights Spotlight Poetry Series. He is currently the poet-in-residence at Beyond Baroque in Venice, California. He has lived his entire life in Los Angeles.
Kamau Daáood, poet, educator and community arts activist, is a native of Los Angeles. He is the Artistic Director of the World Stage in LA, which he founded with drum legend Billy Higgins. A former member of the Watts Writers Workshop, he is the subject of an award-winning documentary, and he honed his skills as a "word musician" in the Pan-African People's Arkestra.
This event is Free & In-Person at Beyond Baroque. Masks are required while inside our center.
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