Divine Blue Light (For John Coltrane) by Will Alexander
From Will Alexander, finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, a new collection of poems from the intersection between surrealism and afro-futurism, where Césaire meets Sun Ra. Divine Blue Light further affirms Alexander’s status as one of the most unique and innovative voices in contemporary poetry.
One of Publishers Weekly’s Top 10 Notable Poetry Books for Fall 2022!
“Since the 1980s, the Los Angeles-based Alexander has mixed politics with mesmeric, oracular lines.”—The New York Times
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.