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Will Alexander

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 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.

Selected Bibliography

Kaleidoscopic Omniscience (Skylight Press, 2013)
The Brimstone Boat (Reve a Deux, 2012)
The Sri Lankan Loxodrome (New Directions, 2009)
Exobiology As Goddess (Manifest Press, 2005)
Asia & Haiti (Sun & Moon Press, 2000)
Compression & Purity (City Lights, 2011)
Towards the Primeval Lightning Field (O Books, 1998)
Above the Human Nerve (Pavement Saw Press, 1998)
Vertical Rainbow Climber (Jazz Press, 1987)

Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture 1991–2007 (Essay Press, 2013)
Diary As Sin (Skylight Press, 2011)
Sunrise in Armageddon (Spuyten Duyvil, 2006)

By This Poet


Thought as Philosophical Torment

In the mirror of excessive drift
there exist those values
which exist within schisms
within error wracked spectrums
which glow by means of vapour
above anti-dimensional obstruction

the visage of metrics
tuned to a mesmeric lisp
to a rancid facial dice
thrown across ethers
across 3 or 4 sierras or voids

so that each sculpting
each prism
the apparitional understanding
to a macro-positional scalding
which collapses
which takes on the centigrade of absence
bound to invisible comradery

On Anti-Biography

For me, biography is a lantern, burning in the midst of parenthetical opaqueness. In a sense, it is a ruse, a phantasmic meandering, brighter or dimmer, according to the ecletic happenstance of terror.

Me, I've been sired in anomaly, in an imagery of brewing grenadine riddles, a parallel poesis spawned from curious seismographic molten. I say curious, because the original stalking arc has disappeared into the wilderness of an a priori blizzard, which gives birth to a level, like a portal of fire conjoined with the lightning field of mystery. I call it the poetic guardian dove, the hieratic alien wing.

It is the non-local field, the non-particle acid, flowing into my cognitive iodine rays, into the vicious fires of my tarantella marshes. So I dance with vibration, with the solar arc spinning backward around the miraculous force of a double green horizon. Simultaneously, I escape the territorial, while remaining within the burning loops of my own momentary seizures, guarded by ferns, legs plowing land, the face and the mind guided by stars.

So, I am a martyr of drills, of spates of specific lingual flooding, casting at times, a mist or a mirage, like a caravan of yaks, transporting tungsten and water. Conversely, to give a graph of dates, to single out a bevy of personal social lesions, would invert me, would turn me around a diurnal bundle of glass, staggered, with a less than fiery temperature, partially nulling my sensitivity to falling phonemic peppers, to the inclination towards victory which burns in the dawn above heaven. For me, this is the green locale, the pleroma of eternal solar essence, glinting, full of fabulous maelstrom diamonds, an empowered hegira of drift, of claustrophobic rainbow spectrums which empty themselves, and return to themselves, like having an image go out and return to itself, so that its power transmutes by the very energy of its looping; and I think of myself, the poet sending signals into mystery, and having them return to me with oneiric wings and spirals, so much so, that I forget my prosaic locale with its stultifying anchors, with its familial dotage and image reports, with its dates inscribed in trapezoidal faces. I am only concerned with simultaneity and height, with rays of monomial kindling, guiding the neo-cortex through ravens, into the ecstasy of x-rays and blackness.

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