In May 2022, Will Alexander's previous book, Refractive Africa (2021, published in the U.S. by New Directions and in the U.K. by Granta), was named a finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.
Will Alexander, although hugely admired as one of the great avant-garde Black poets for many years with over a dozen books under his belt, is finally starting to gain national and international admiration from major outlets. Refractive Africa , was also reviewed in both the New York Times and The Guardian.
Divine Blue Light will be published as volume 63 in the Pocket Poets series, with Will Alexander joining the ranks of Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Frank O'Hara, Anne Waldman and, most recently, Tongo Eisen-Martin, among other great American poets.
This book joins a list of recent City Lights titles by innovative contemporary Black poets including Tongo Eisen-Martin, Pamela Sneed, D.S. Marriott, Uche Nduka and great poets from the past like Bob Kaufman and Stephen Jonas.
Alexander's surrealist-inspired poetry is a direct descendent of the work of Philip Lamantia and Bob Kaufman, two signature American poets from the Pocket Poets Series.
Alexander is a lifetime resident of Los Angeles and is the current poet-in-residence at Beyond Baroque, a venerated poetry institution in the area.
A poem appearing in this book was chosen and brought into orbital space by Dr. Sian Proctor on Space X's all-civilian mission, Inspiration4, in 2021.
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.