Poetry. African American Studies. Philosophy. Essays. Now available as a second edition with a new preface from the author, Will Alexander's TOWARDS THE PRIMEVAL LIGHTNING FIELD (O Books, 1998) is a work of "vertical philosophy" revealing the strata of cultures and language, like geographical layers seen all at once. These essays comprise Alexander's "search for origins outside the warrens of the visible," revealing a singular imagination that moves with the force of a manifesto and the impossible dexterity of the unknown. Described by Eliot Weinberger as "probably the only African-American poet to take Aimé Cesaire as a spiritual father," Alexander's singular voice resonates far past the constrictions of the rational world.
"His work resembles no one's and is instantly recognizable. In part, he is an ecstatic surrealist on imaginal hyperdrive. He is probably the only African-American poet to take Aimé Césaire as a spiritual father...[Alexander] is a poet whose ecstasy derives from the scientific description of the stuff and the workings of the world."—Eliot Weinberger
"Will Alexander is by far the most original poet working in the United States today. A major force in the dissemination of surrealism, there is absolutely no one who sounds like Alexander, and he, most emphatically sounds like no one else."—Justin Desmangles
"If the quotidian amounts to little more than a dossier of unitary suffering, then Will Alexander's visionary essays commence the ignition of evolution beyond inclemency. Césaire, Lorca, Cheikh Anta Diop, non-European philosophy and cosmology, alchemical and anti-statist traditions: all animate this work; its range is incomparable. André Breton wrote that for surrealism 'life is elsewhere;' TOWARDS RGE PRIMEVAL LIGHTNING FIELD takes us in pleasure and terror along the way to that range, shimmering beyond grim power, 'where the waters and suns are both kindled by splendour.'"—Barry Maxwell
Excerpt @ The Poetry FoundationAlexander and Sylvia Legris @ Music and LiteratureAlexander @ PennSoundAlexander in conversation @ CUNY Graduate CenterAlexander and Charles Bernstein @ Close ListeningGary Sloboda @ EOAGH
Born in 1948, Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, visual artist and pianist. He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002. He was also the subject of a colloquium published in the prestigious African American cultural journal Callaloo in 1999. Author of 20 books (including MIRACH SPEAKS TO HIS GRAMMATICAL TRANSPARENTS, INSIDE THE EARTHQUAKE PALACE: 4 PLAYS, Aboce The Human Nerve Domain, and Exobiology As Goddess), Alexander has taught at various colleges including University of California, San Diego, New College (San Francisco, CA), Hofstra University, and Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, in addition to being associated with the nonprofit organization Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, serving at-risk youth. He is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles.