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Will Alexander, The Politics of Poetry

Poet Will Alexander and Close Listening host Charles Bernstein discuss Alexander's early immersion in the work of John Coltrane and its abiding connection to his own jazz-process as well as his Surrealist poetry, his “constellation" of mythological and scientific sources, the influence of Aimé Césaire on his work, the politics of his poetic form via resistance to colonization, the role of the black poet in America, the necessity of performance, and his aim to bring the reader into a state of “supra-mind.”

Will Alexander is a poet and lifelong resident of Los Angeles. Vertical Rainbow Climber, his first book, was published in 1987. Sun & Moon Press published Asia & Haiti in 1995. Towards the Primeval Lightning Field was published by O Booksin 1998 and republished by Litmus Press in 2015. City Lights published Compression and Purity in 2011. Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose Texts, Interviews and a Lecture 1991-2007 was published by Essay Press in 2012.


Close Listening


Conversations and readings with poets and artists, produced in cooperation with PennSound and hosted by Charles Bernstein, the American poet, theorist, editor, and literary scholar. Bernstein was born in New York City in 1950. He is a foundational member and leading practitioner of Language poetry. Bernstein was educated at the Bronx High School of Science and at Harvard University, where he studied philosophy with Stanley Cavell and wrote his final thesis on Gertrude Stein and Ludwig Wittgenstein.

In the mid-1970s Bernstein became active in the experimental poetry scenes in New York and San Francisco, not only as a poet, but also as an editor, publisher, and theorist. With visual artist and wife Susan Bee, Bernstein published several now well-known poets whose work is associated with Language writing.