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Woodberry Poetry Room

ORAL HISTORY INITIATIVE: Reading & Conversation with Will Alexander

Wednesday, March 27, 2024, 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Houghton Library
Open to the public, Reading/Lecture,

The Woodberry Poetry Room welcomes you to a cosmic reading and conversation with visionary poet, artist, and philosopher Will Alexander (author of Refractive Africa and The Combustion Cycle), introduced by our Spring 2024 Guest Curator Tongo Eisen-Martin.

Alexander will read from new works, after which Eisen-Martin will engage him in a wide-ranging, exploratory conversation about his life experiences and friendships, as well as the artists, thinkers, philosophies, and practices that continue to inspire and activate him. Audience members will also be encouraged to ask questions as a part of this oral history. An informal reception and book-signing (provided by Grolier Poetry Book Shop) will follow the event. 

In-Person Attendance:  Edison Newman Room, Houghton Library, Harvard University. Free and open to the public. 

Online Attendance: Livestreaming available via the WPR YouTube Channel at 6:00pm (Eastern Standard Time).


ABOUT WILL ALEXANDER: Alexander is a multimodal artist. In addition to being a poet, he is also a novelist, essayist, aphorist, playwright, philosopher, visual artist, and pianist. His influences range from poetic practitioners, such as Aimé Césaire, Bob Kaufman, Andre Breton, Antonin Artaud, and Philip Lamantia, to the encompassing paradigm of Sri Aurobindo’s Integral Yoga, and the Egyptian worldview as understood by Cheikh Anta Diop and R.A. Schwaller de Lubicz. The latter is central to Alexander’s expanding inner range, which has allowed him access to levels of mind beyond the three-dimensional as boundary. He thereby explores the full dimensionality of each word. For him, each word has access to not only the median level of three-dimensional experience, but also partakes of experience on both the supra and subconscious planes. His praxis of language is not unlike the Mayan numerical world, where each letter of the alphabet spontaneously engages in non-limit. Thus, all fields of experience are open for exploration: art, physics, botany, history, astronomy, architecture, and poetics.

A 2022 Pulitzer Prize finalist, Alexander's books include Refractive Africa, The Combustion CycleAsia and HaitiThe Sri Lankan LoxodromeCompression and PuritySunrise In ArmageddonDiary As SinInside the Earthquake PalaceTowards The Primeval Lightning Field, and Mirach Speaks To His Grammatical Transparents. His 39th book, “On Dar el-Hikma,” is due this fall from Africa World Press. He lives in the City of Angels.

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Event Organizer

Christina Davis