Divine Blue Light: for John Coltrane

Divine Blue Light: for John Coltrane

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Author: Will Alexander

Publisher: City Lights (2022)

Against the ruins of a contemporary globalist discourse, which he denounces as a “lingual theocracy of super-imposed rationality,” Will Alexander’s poems constitute an alternative cartography that draws upon omnivorous reading—in subjects from biology to astronomy to history to philosophy—amalgamating their diverse vocabularies into an impossible instrument only he can play. Divine Blue Light is anchored by three major works: the opening “Condoned to Disappearance,” a meditation on the heteronymic exploits of Portuguese modernist Fernando Pessoa; the closing “Imprecation as Mirage,” a poem channeling an Indonesian man; and the title poem, an anthemic ode to the jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. Other key pieces include “Accessing Gertrude Bell,” a critique of one of the designers of the modern state of Iraq; “Deficits: Chaïm Soutine & Joan Miró,” in homage to two Jewish artists forced to flee the Nazi invasion of France; and “According to Stellar Scale,” a compact lyric that traveled to space with astronaut Sian Proctor. The newest installment in our Pocket Poets Series, Divine Blue Light confirms Alexander’s status among the foremost surrealists writing in English today.

"These surrealist and Afrofuturist poems examine politics, globalism, and the powers and limitations of language, while paying tribute to artists forced to flee the Nazi invasion of France.”

Maya Popa

"The 'invisible current' Will Alexander channels in the meteoric poems of Divine Blue Light is not surreal escape but vibrational engagement—an engagement with the infinite streams of the heart of being."

Jeffrey Yang

"Like agua tilting itself into a god, Will’s texts suffuse the horizon of Poetry with the abstract purity of their oceanic movements, sun-condensing, dissolving seemingly endless sight into a disappearing instant of the Miraculous. Divine Blue Light exists by what it exudes."

Carlos Lara