Through poetry, novels, essays, philosophy, aphorisms, plays, piano compositions, and drawings, Will Alexander’s work explores the nature of language and being, informed by imaginative and poetic research. Alexander began working on book-length projects in the 1980s after earlier forays into publishing with little magazines. He was one of the first writers published in Hambone, begun by Nathaniel Mackey in 1974, and likewise in Sulfur, edited by Clayton Eshleman. Over the years, Alexander has been published by numerous small and independent presses, including Sun & Moon Press, Jazz Press, Skylight Press, Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, Chax Press, New Directions, Essay Press, City Lights Books, and Roof Books. Alexander cites influences and interlocuters including Octavio Paz, Antonin Artaud, Bob Kaufman, Philip Lamantia, and others involved a range of surrealist and experimental writing.
While Alexander continues to actively write and publish, these earlier works represent a “cooled magma” of poetic thought (to borrow a simile from an interview between Alexander and Johanna Drucker, in which they discuss the archive). The archive contains all known surviving materials from ca. 1979 to 2017, housed within a compact but dense seven bankers boxes. The archive will be of particular interest to scholars of contemporary American poetry, the legacies of Surrealism, African American art and literature, Los Angeles’s poetry scene, and more.
The collection has sold.