Divine Blue Light (for John Coltrane): Pocket Poets Series No. 63


Product Details

$16.95  $15.76
City Lights Books
Publish Date
4.8 X 6.2 X 0.4 inches | 0.25 pounds

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About the Author

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.


Praise for Divine Blue Light:

"Will Alexander's new book of poetry takes inspiration from its namesake containing poems of such abstraction and vigor that the end result is a reader who can't feel anything but awe. Awe not only at the vistas suddenly made visible by Alexander's poetry but also awe at the technique at work. While reading Divine Blue Light, it was apparent that I was at the hands of a master who has honed his craftsmanship to such a degree that every poem seems like a miracle."--​Bennard Fajardo, Politics and Prose Bookstore

Praise for Refractive Africa (2021), finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry:

"Will Alexander's improvisatory cosmicity pushes poetic language to the point of most resistance--incantatory and swirling with magical laterality and recovery."--The Pulitzer Prizes

"Since the 1980s, the Los Angeles-based Alexander has mixed politics with mesmeric, oracular lines."--Greg Cowles, The New York Times

"This visionary act of 'transpersonal witness' to a continent is an Afromodernist epic in the tradition of Kamau Brathwaite's The Arrivants. ... Refractive Africa embraces an aesthetic of sprawl and overreach, summoning free-flowing visions of grandeur and desolation. Alexander, an American, is the author of more than 30 books, and his introduction to a British readership is overdue."--The Guardian

"There is likely no poetry more propulsive, visually kinetic, and intricately layered than that composed by Will Alexander. ... Alexander's seemingly over-rich language and ideation establish an imaginative realm that is entirely unlike any other, one in which we are immersed in sheer, coruscating energy. ... Embodying an intensity of feeling that brims close to overwhelming, these poems bear persuasive witness to the history of Africa, of colonialism, and of Black selfhood and resistance. Too much on these themes, Alexander asserts, is not nearly enough."--Hyperallergic

"Powerful and visionary."--The Skinny

Praise for Will Alexander:

"A long-distance runner extraordinaire, Will Alexander parses and devours information, code and arcana lest they parse and devour him, parse and devour us. What but deep seas and distant galaxies would make such a demand his extended soliloquies implicitly ask and overtly answer."--Nathaniel Mackey

"Alexander's voice speaks to its situation--social, political, ecological--in the Anthropocene. ... Anticipating a collective leap of human consciousness comparable to the Mind's original emergence in Africa, Alexander reports on the 'world as it is today' as if from a standpoint in the future, from an alterity in which this momentous leap has already occurred."--Andrew Joron, Caesura

"Cosmological, astrological, philosophical, geological, mathematical, and hypnogogical in scope, Alexander finds concordance in chaotic discord. Like a force of nature, a procession of seamless symbols, the lines roll out as variant strata compress into a crystalline composite."--Jeffrey Cyphers Wright, The Brooklyn Rail

"As we spin toward planetary suicide at the hands of oily capitalizers, it will be the prophetic words of poets such as Will Alexander, with their imaginal radiance, which hold any hope of lighting the way to a true alchemical amnesty and new modes of being."--Dorothy Wang, author of Thinking in its Presence

"It is tempting to label Alexander a surrealist or experimentalist, but he is truly a singular voice."--Citation for the Jackson Poetry Prize

"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 ..."--American Poet

"Alexander's comfort and willingness to discuss occasions beyond our normal daily experiences excites the imagination with the warmth of ecstatic re-envisioning. This is writing that opens up new worlds, crisp and direct in its offering of unique and valuable gifts."--Rain Taxi

"A vastly under-appreciated and important avant-garde poet, who deserves a wider audience."--Huffington Post