The Sri Lankan Loxodrome

Will Alexander (Author)


are but boulders which are shattered by spoilage
--Will Alexander

In navigation a loxodrome, or rhumb-line, is a line that crosses all meridians at the same angle, maintaining one compass direction, a path of constant bearing. In his breakthrough poetry collection, The Sri Lankan Loxodrome, Will Alexander connects this theme to a lone Sri Lankan sailor who beheads sea snakes as an ongoing meditation while sailing the expanse of the Indian Ocean. Along the way he meets various African communities as he journeys eastward, from Madagascar to Sri Lanka. In lush, perfumed language filled with the spirit of Aimé Césaire and Sun Ra, Alexander maps an epic voyage unlike any other in contemporary poetry.

Product Details

New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date
September 29, 2009
6.08 X 0.36 X 8.94 inches | 0.39 pounds
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About the Author

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 ten books (including MIRACH SPEAKS TO HIS GRAMMATICAL TRANSPARENTS, INSIDE THE EARTHQUAKE PALACE: 4 PLAYS, ABOVE THE HUMAN NERVE DOMAIN, COMPRESSION & PURITY, EXOBIOLOGY AS GODDESS, and TOWARDS THE PRIMEVAL LIGHTNING FIELD), 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.


Formidable. Alexander encourages the reader to ... let the poem itself exist as its own unique world.--Andrew Wessels
Alexander's poems are unpunctuated, their expanding structures suggest that each might be read as a single very long, very complex sentence...a complex sentence machine turning out elaborate grammatical parallelisms, extensive series of epic catalogues, and open-ended syntax of discordant clauses and appended prepositional phrases.--HarRyette Mullen
Alexander's verbal flights strike me as more shamanistic than free-associational or automatic. His evocation of upper and lower worlds, and his vocabulary which bridges poetry, philosophy, myth, and science, give his verbal fulgurations a sense of linguistic seed that suddenly sprouts, then resprouts.... He may be the first major 'outsider artist' in American poetry. Whatever he is, he is a force to reckon with, whose self-propelled soarings evoke Simon Rodia's 'Watt's Tower' as well as Siberian ecstasies.--Clayton Eshleman
An unusual poet who likes unusual word...these poems look fresh and alien.--Jesse Tangen-Mills