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Alexander Long

Alexander Long

Alexander Long was born and raised in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania. He’s worked as a musician, fry cook, and obituary writer. With Christopher Buckley, he is co-editor of A Condition of the Spirit: the Life & Work of Larry Levis (Eastern Washington University Press, 2004). His poems, essays, and book reviews have appeared in American Writers (Charles Scribner’s Sons), Blackbird, The Cream City Review, 5 AM, Pleiades, Poetry International, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Quarter After Eight, Quarterly West, Rivendell, Solo, Third Coast, and elsewhere. He is a member of the writing faculty at West Chester University and writes, plays, and tours with the band Redhead Betty Takeout.

Also by Alexander Long

  • Light Here, Light There (2009)





$14.00 Trade Paper | 104 Pages
ISBN: 1-930974-64-7 / 978-1-930974-64-7
Publication Date: October 2006
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An Inland Seas Poetry Book

“The poems in Vigil are full of the song that arises from a skillful mind in concert with a fine and passionate heart.”
        —Fleda Brown

“Alexander Long’s exciting Vigil, with its Whitmanesque embrace of a world filled with music, literature, history and the everyday ‘rotting angels / We are,’ is a vast landscape embraced by a masterful voice."
        —Richard Jackson

“More than anything else, Alexander Long has subject, and with honed and original craft, this makes for voice, makes for poems we can believe and care about, enter and learn a little more of what it means to be human, to be here . . . . Long knows about the surface of poems, how to keep them fresh in syntax even though there is a story to be told, a part of a life to be examined. He knows telling detail and specificity that land a reader immediately in a scene. He knows phrasing and image-making in support of the emotional truth of the poem. He is never writing to the trend. Yet, you will hear an original rhythm, and where appropriate, like a jazz musician, you will hear homage, a riff quoted from a master. His work is mature; he has something to write about; it’s soul-making.”
        —Christopher Buckley


Still Life: Eggs in Linen

This is not about what I wanted
To start with, a floor, some sun
Slanting through, turning the amber tiles
Warmer, suddenly, as if someone
Were there sleeping, or waking,
Watching that slowness open
A lily. It’s not
About what I’ve wanted. It is
Only a floor, some light stunned
Upon a lily, and someone
Breathing under a blue blanket.
I am not watching this from a distance
Anymore. How many times
Have I walked through alleys
Kicking a stone curb to curb,
Hands in my pockets, almost warm?
How many times has snow scabbed
The surface of a pond, the koi bashful
And waving beneath? How many times
Have I marked the calendar in blue
Pencil my last days in this man’s shape?
This is not about what I want.
The floor is warm, that’s all, and not
By its own accord. And that is why
This is not a love poem, why it does not move
Beyond desire, unlike the sun,
From the floor to beneath the blanket,
To wrapping, Sweet Jesus, my cold hands
Around your cold hands, hands that, once,
Drew dots as small as stars
And made silver eggs dimly glow
In some linen-wrapped forever.
It’s just paper. It’s not
About what I want at all.