“In Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat, Alexander praises his influences; analyzes the politics and aesthetics of the long 20th century; reflects on the repressed, but undeniable importance of African cosmological views to the European Renaissance; and articulates the expansive possibilities of what we might call non-exclusively an African diasporic surrealism. For a trail guide to the wonders of Alexandrian poetics, read these essays. For fresh evidence that surrealism is alive, not as a movement, but as a freedom-oriented, imaginatively unbounded mode of being in the world, read these essays.” – Evie Shockley
“Even that small, fervent band of readers who have been with Will Alexander from the beginning will be taken aback by the breath-taking breadth of this collection. Alexander’s sheer range of address constantly presents readers with the new, circulating in new language… Forget tattoos; come here for the emblazoned ontogenic.” – Aldon Lynn Nielsen
“Will Alexander’s gaze is expansive: geologic time, the beginnings of human civilization, the half millennia since European colonization, these essays lay bare the political bones of his thinking and the profound affinities he shares with Césaire, Diop, the indigenous populations of the Americas, Wifredo Lam, and the many inward prodigies dying in our apartheid school system. As we spin towards 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
Born in 1948, Will Alexander is a poet, novelist, essayist, playwright, visual artist and pianist. He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002. He was also the subject of a colloquium published in the prestigious African American cultural journal Callaloo in 1999. Author of ten books (including MIRACH SPEAKS TO HIS GRAMMATICAL TRANSPARENTSINSIDE THE EARTHQUAKE PALACE: 4 PLAYS, ABOVE THE HUMAN NERVE DOMAIN,COMPRESSION & PURITYEXOBIOLOGY AS GODDESS and TOWARDS THE PRIMEVAL LIGHTNING FIELD), Alexander has taught at various colleges including University of California, San Diego, New College (San Francisco, CA), Hofstra University and Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, in addition to being associated with the nonprofit organization Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, serving at-risk youth. He is a lifelong resident of Los Angeles.


Essay Press is pleased to announce the two winners of the 2016 Essay Press Open Book Contest judged by Carla Harryman: Litany for the Long Moment by Mary-Kim Arnold and Of Sphere by Karla Kelsey, which will be published in Fall 2017.