The Contortionist Whispers
by Will Alexander

ISBN-13: 978090057513 | $18 | 102 pages | May 1, 2022

“As poet one remains consumed by black radii and tension.
In this circumstance the poet remains susceptible to collective
psychic squalls, to viral winds from duplicitous infernos.”

“One is never trapped by what seems better or worse, but one simply exists, curiously rising above surrounding tarnish and ailment, listening to oneself via voiceless alchemical mirrors.” From King Leopold’s atrocities in the Congo to modern-day American consumerism, Will Alexander’s The Contortionist Whispers examines a poet’s role across space and time as a lingual power, a “practitioner of occult harvests,” recruiting and combining the former insights of many—William Blake, Fernando Pessoa, Aimé Césaire, Alfonsina Storni, Jayne Cortez, Antonin Artaud—into one momentously moving effort to move beyond both being and nothingness.


Praise for Will Alexander

“Will Alexander may be the first major ‘outsider artist’ in American poetry. Whatever he is, he is a force to reckon with, whose self-propelled soarings evoke Simon Rodia’s Watts Towers as well as Siberian ecstasies.”

— Clayton Eshleman

“A long-distance runner extraordinaire, Will Alexander parses and devours information, code and arcana lest they parse and devour him, parse and devour us.”

— Nathaniel Mackey

“Will Alexander, more than any of our other American contemporaries, is the inheritor of an ecstatic surrealism derived from European sources, colored by factual & scientific particulars, & drawing with great intelligence and passion from an international avant-garde & from the negritude writings of Aimé Césaire & others, for whom he acts as a true successor.”

— Jerome Rothenberg

“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.”

— Evie Shockley

“Will Alexander’s The Combustion Cycle stands as a towering monument to the imagination.”

— Andrew Joron

“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 ways to a ‘true alchemical amnesty’ and new modes of being.”

— Dorothy Wang

“Alexander’s poems are unpunctuated, their expanding structures suggest that each might be read as a single very long, very complex sentence.”

— Harryette Mullen

“Alexander is acutely conscious of the issue of poetic voice, and is interested in the spiritual dimension of poetry, especially in the degrees to which poetry can give us access to spiritual or emotional states beyond those we normally experience.”

— Mark Scroggins

“Hands down one of the most amazing writers today.”

— Christopher Higgs

About the Author

Will Alexander, Big Other’s 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award winner, is a poet, essayist, novelist, short fiction writer, playwright, aphorist, visual artist, pianist, who has written close to 40 books in the above-mentioned genres. Will Alexander is the poet-in-residence at Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Foundation in Venice, California and currently lives in Los Angeles.