Arts Collinwood hosts L.A. Poet Will Alexander September 20

Julie Ezelle Patton and R.A. Washington Also To Perform

Los Angeles poet Will Alexander will be reading from his work Monday, September 20, 2010 at the Arts Collinwood Cafe. The event is part of a five-city tour of the Great Lakes region the poet is undertaking to promote his most recent collection, The Sri Lankan Loxodrome, published last year by New Directions.

“In navigation a loxodrome, or rhumb-line, is a line that crosses all meridians at the same angle, maintaining one compass direction, a path of constant bearing,” according to the publisher. “In his breakthrough poetry collection… Alexander connects this theme to a lone Sri Lankan sailor who beheads sea snakes as an ongoing meditation while sailing the expanse of the Indian Ocean. Along the way he meets various African communities as he journeys eastward, from Madagascar to Sri Lanka. In lush, perfumed language filled with the spirit of Aimé Césaire and Sun Ra, Alexander maps an epic voyage unlike any other in contemporary poetry.”

Event promoter Tom Orange, who teaches writing and literature at Cleveland State University, calls Alexander “a true visionary who has been answering poetry’s highest calling for over twenty years. His previous books were all published with small presses and quickly became classics among a devoted following. Now that he has been picked up by New Directions, an internationally recognized publisher closely aligned with an avant garde that runs from Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams to Susan Howe and Nathaniel Mackey, a wider audience finally has the chance to recognize this one fact: Will Alexander has studied deeply and widely in the wisdoms and struggles of the world. Well-versed in astronomy, biology, botany, history, esoterica and mysticism, his intellect is staggering, even intimidating! But we would do well to put aside our insecurities, to listen and share in his offering.” Born in 1948 to working-class parents in South Central Los Angeles, Alexander first studied poetry with K. Curtis Lyle, a founding member of the Watts Writers Workshop. There he was exposed to the Surrealist and Beat poetry of Philip Lamantia, Bob Kaufman, Octavio Paz, and the Francophone African writers know as the Negritude poets (including Aimé Césaire and Jean-Joseph Rabéarivelo). He is the author of eight chapbooks and full-length collections of poetry and prose, including including Stratospheric Canticles, Asia & Haiti, Above the Human Nerve Domain, Towards the Primeval Lightning Field and Exobiology as Goddess. He has taught courses at the University of California at San Diego, Naropa in Boulder, Colorado, Hofstra University, and Mills College. He was the recipient of a Whiting Fellowship for Poetry in 2001 and a California Arts Council Fellowship in 2002.

Sharing the stage with Alexander will be poet-artist R.A. Washington and  Cleveland native, Julie Ezelle Patton. Washington is a writer, multi-media artist, and musician living in Historic North Collinwood Neighborhood of Cleveland. He is the author of a dozen books, most recently the novellas OPEN and HUEbris. His paintings, photography and mixed media installations have been exhibited in numerous galleries, and art centers, including ARTbizzarre in Montreal, Quebec, FACT.CO in London, England, and as part of SPACES Gallery’s Afrofuturism Exhibition in 2006. Washington’s free jazz opera, Along the Eastern Shore, a tribute to Cleveland jazz great Albert Ayler, was premiered as part of the 2006 Cleveland Ingenuity Festival. He is also a member of the performance ensemble BLACK POETIC and is currently working on a play and film project based on the life of James Baldwin.

Julie Ezelle Patton is the author of Using Blue To Get Black, Notes for Some (Nominally) Awake, and A Garden Per Verse (or What Else do You Expect from Dirt?). Julie’s work has appeared in ((eco(lang)(uage(reader)), Critiphoria, and nocturnes. “Room for Opal,” a sound/text installation that Julie created as a Green HoriHorizons Fellow at Bates College, is lovingly explored in Jonathan Skinner’s “Listening with Patton” (ON: Contemporary Practice, 2008). Julie’s performance work, featured at the Stone, Jazz Standard, and noted international venues, emphasizes improvisation, collaboration, and other worldly chora-graphs. Her publik dissertation, “Chateau in z’ Ghetto,” is an ArkiTextual dwelling space foregrounding creative utilitarian projects, ill-literacy, ritual maintenance work, neighborhood love-economies, and the familial philosophy of “Making Do” in the urban desert of Cleveland, Ohio. Patton is a recipient of an Acadia Arts Foundation Grant (2008), and a New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellowship (2007) and has taught at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art, Naropa, Teachers & Writers Collaborative and Schule fur Dichtung (Vienna, Austria). A native Clevelander, Patton is founding director of the Salon des Refuses Gallery and Let it Bee Garden in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood, and resides in the “East Pillage” of New York City.

The Arts Collinwood building is located at 15601 Waterloo, in the Waterloo Arts District and features the Arts Collinwood Gallery, a Cafe, artist studios and a large community center space for classes, rehearsals and performances. The event will begin at 8pm and will also feature a music by performers to be announced. The event is free and open to the public, and donations to support the touring artist will be graciously accepted.

For further information, please contact Tom Orange at – tmorangeATgmail[dot]com.

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