Will Alexander was born in Los Angeles, California, in 1948. He received a BA from the University of California–Los Angeles in 1972.
Alexander published his first poetry collection, Vertical Rainbow Climber (Jazz Press), in 1987. He went on to publish numerous books of poetry, including Refractive Africa: Ballet of the Forgotten (New Directions, 2021), which was a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry; Kaleidoscopic Omniscience (Skylight Press, 2013); The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (New Directions, 2009); and Asia & Haiti (Sun & Moon Press, 2000).
In 2016, Alexander received the Jackson Poetry Prize awarded by Poets & Writers; the judges’ citation notes, “It is tempting to label Alexander a surrealist or experimentalist, but he is truly a singular voice. Ultimately, his poetry is rooted in a belief in the transformative powers of language.”
Also known for his essays and nonfiction, he is the author of Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture 1991–2007 (Essay Press, 2013), winner of an American Book Award.
Alexander is the recipient of a California Arts Council Fellowship, a PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award, and a Whiting Fellowship, among many others. He has taught at several universities, including the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and the University of California–San Diego. He lives in California.