Alexander was born in Los Angeles, and has lived his entire life in that city. He has a B.A. in English and creative writing. He graduated from the University of Colorado, and from theState University of New York at Buffalo.
He has worked several jobs (including the LA Lakers box office), taught at various institutions, and has been associated with the nonprofit organization Theatre of Hearts/Youth First, working with underserved, at-risk youth.
Alexander’s poetry and his visual art have been greatly influenced by his readings of Bob Kaufman, Octavio Paz, and Francophone Negritude writers such as Aimé Cesaire and Jean-Joseph Rabéarivelo. Alexander describes their themes of cosmic isolation from society and interior discovery as an “alchemical metamorphosis.” Much of Alexander’s work is characterized by this powerful mix of metaphor and sophisticated language.
He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002. His collection Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, prose, texts, interviews, and a lecture (2013) was awarded an American Book Awards. He won the 2016 Jackson Poetry Prize.
- 2016 — Jackson Poetry Prize (awarded by Poets & Writers)
- 2014 — American Book Award for Singing In Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose, Texts, Interviews, and a Lecture
- 2002 — California Arts Council Fellowship
- 2001 — Whiting Fellowship for Poetry
- Vertical Rainbow Climber. Jazz Press, 1987.
- Archane Lavender Morals. Leave Books, 1994.
- The Stratospheric Canticles. Pantograph Press, 1995.
- Asia & Haiti. Sun & Moon Press, 1995.
- Above the Human Nerve Domain. Pavement Saw Press, 1998.
- Towards the Primeval Lightening Field. O Books, 1998.
- Exobiology as Goddess. Manifest Press, 2005. ISBN 9780967388588
- Inalienable Recognitions. Tract Series #4. eohippus labs, 2009.
- The Sri Lankan Loxodrome. New Directions Publishing, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8112-1829-0
- On the Substance of Disorder. [Parrot 7]. Insert Press, 2010.
- Compression & Purity. City Lights, 2011. ISBN 978-0-87286-541-9
- Diary As Sin. Skylight Press, 2011. ISBN 978-1-908011-13-8
- Inside the Earthquake Palace: 4 Plays. Chax Press, 2011. ISBN|978-0-925904-89-8
- Mirach Speaks to his Grammatical Transparents. Oyster Moon Press, 2011. ISBN 978-0-578-08445-9
- The Brimstone Boat - For Philip Lamantia. Rêve à Deux, 2012. ISBN 978-0-578-09589-9
- Singing in Magnetic Hoofbeat: Essays, Prose Texts, Interviews and a Lecture 1991-2007. Essay Press, 2012. ISBN 978-0-9791189-7-5
- Kaleidoscopic Omniscience: Asia & Haiti/ The Stratospheric Canticles/ Impulse & Nothingness. Skylight Press, 2012. ISBN 978-1-908011-49-7
- The Transparent as Witness. Will Alexander & Janice Lee. Solar Luxuriance, 2013.
- Towards the Primeval Lightning Field. Litmus Press, 2014. ISBN 978-1-933959-20-7
- The Codex Mirror: 60 Drawings by Byron Baker & 60 Writings by Will Alexander. Anon Edition, 2015. ISBN 978-1-312620-47-6
- Based on the Bush of Ghosts. Staging Ground, 2015.
- Audio / video
- Will Alexander at Amazon.com
- Review of Diary As Sin published in The Prague Post
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