Will Alexander’s Exobiology As Goddess is a book-length paean to Solea of the Simooms, an invented divinity—is there any other kind?—who is a “blazing heresy within absence”; who is “void & negation as density / spiraling / through scorched titanium as emptiness”; who “roams in a zone without mass.” The book’s complex, polycrystalline textual surface is further complicated by a cascade of images rendered in a language informed by the tropes of various mythologies, but also by the sciences, including geology, mineralogy, astronomy, paleontology, and physics.
Alexander, likens the writing of “Solea of the Simooms” to “trying to transfix the elusive elementals of the mirage. I was attempting in ‘Solea’ to work with a language not unlike the inscrutable motion found in the symbols of jasper and blood. In another sense it is a cosmological isolation and wandering. But in the end, it is poetry which contains in its substance the power always hidden by invisibility.”
The book’s lexicon includes some coinages, not limited to “insinuendos,” a marvelous portmanteau, I think, of “insinuate” and “innuendos.” Here is my word-hoard from this incredibly layered text:
Simooms, splendiferous, dolorosos, transmundane, neutrino, anti-neutrino, electrokinetic, mesmerism, antiphonal, dromedary, sullage, intermolecular, mysteriums, frondage, phonation, incarnadine, proto-condensation, gladioli, fulgurant, substrata, rapacious, sibylline, anti-successive, equilibria, translocation, vitreous, cinnabar, concussives, gravitizing, spectroscopic, pontoons, albedo, drachma, gamboling, isodynamic, aleatoric, noctiluca, isoplanatic, spectra, clepsydra, laryngeal, dihedral, ohmic, chirality, dextrorotary, anticlockwise, diamantine, hieratic, claritas, transdissected, tarantellas, sinusoidal, auto-ferulas, gravid, paraphonia, borosilicate, hypnogogic, ejecta, sphinxian, endogenous, osmotic, moneronic, reticular, neoteric, canton, acidulous, solfatara, congelation, skua, gestral, alter-fractions, transpersonal, opprobrium, algid, collusional, supra-physical, ergasia, candela, rubescent, susurrates, totalic, subtrahend, vertex, seked, scintilla, angstroms, typhlotic, embrasure, sanguinary, amorphic, unfoldment, incantated, transmundane, orismology, opaline, phlogiston, phasma, indefectible, isobar, verdet, oblation, ozonic, creosote, recension, flamelets, invictas, circumstellar, heterocyclic, bionomic, and volational.
John Madera is the author of Nervosities (Anti-Oedipus Press, 2024). His other fiction is published in Conjunctions, Salt Hill, The &Now Awards 2: The Best Innovative Writing, and many other journals. His nonfiction is published in American Book Review, Bookforum, The Review of Contemporary Fiction, Rain Taxi: Review of Books, The Believer, The Brooklyn Rail, and many other venues. Recipient of an M.F.A. in Literary Arts from Brown University, New York State Council on the Arts awardee John Madera lives in New York City, Rhizomatic and manages and edits Big Other.