Wednesday, January 9, 2008

WILL ALEXANDER short feature

There's a benefit reading for L.A. poet Will Alexander this Sunday at Skylight Books (click link below for more information or scroll down).

Will Alexander Benefit Reading, Pick in LA Weekly

He has cancer, but no health insurance. He's good enough to receive a PEN award, a Whiting Fellowship, and a California Arts Council Fellowship, as well as teach at UCSD, Hofstra University, and Mills College, but not good enough to be covered by subsidised health insurance from anyone- LA City, State of California, US of A.

I'm 24 years old, and if I had to apply for health insurance via Blue Cross, etc., I would be turned down, says the family's insurance rep. Why? Because I've been treated for depression. Too risky to insure. Amazing! Lovelies, please vote for someone who is at least making statements about health care. Our system is so broken, broken, broken.

This is an excerpt from one of his poems,The Heliotropic Mandarin. I know I mention Sun Ra frequently in this blog, but this poem is sooooo Sun Ra that it makes me think Will Alexander digs Saturn's servant too:

The black fact, the Heliotropic Mandarin, expressed in spheres between the 7 flames of gold and uranium and oil, between aesthetic speech, and its sudden trunk of revolt. By taking a blade, and sculpting amorphic Asian mountains, he creates in his reign smoke, Saturnian pulsations of darkness, looking throughout the temperature of colour, for a whirling niveous sun, for rubescent nasturtium waves, like a runi exotica inside the horizon, like bleating charcoal harems, like glottally impure emphatic on fire. This is the Mandarin, with his surreptitious stinging crabs, with his haze of grafted wolverine enticements, breaking into the expansion of a singular and rotted aphid, as a moth across the grain of excessive fluidics, like a carved and expressive panther, bickering, like each weightless figment as a source of momentus solitary ire.

Reading pick text:

On Sunday, January 13, Skylight Books will host the third in a series of nationwide benefit readings for Los Angeles poet Will Alexander, who is undergoing cancer treatment without the aid of medical insurance. Originally from South L.A., Alexander, 59, received a PEN Oakland award this year for his fiction/nonfiction work Sunrise in Armageddon (Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, 2006). His prose and poetry, as well as his visual art, revolve around the themes of universal surrealism and human alienation. Even if you’re unfamiliar with his work, the realization that a citizen of his cultural import in our vastly affluent nation could be left to his own defenses to fight off a serious illness surely provides ample fodder for comparisons to the surreal. “L.A. Blueswoman” Wanda Coleman and Sulfur magazine founder Clayton Eshleman are among readers who will perform Sunday. There is a $10 suggested donation, and Skylight Books will also donate 25 percent of all book sales made in the store between 4 and 8 p.m. to the benefit. Sun., Jan. 13, 5 p.m., Skylight Books, 1818 Vermont Ave., L.A., (323) 660-1175.

Will Alexander&Sun Ra

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