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A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  245 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
"He's a poet for our time like Ginsberg was for his."—Eileen Myles

"Conrad's work shows us that the body itself is the first source of alienation and estrangement from the self, and is thus the true subject of poetry. Only by engaging this body . . . can we achieve transport."—Bookforum

What is the best Love you've ever had in this world? Be quiet while thinking about that L
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 3rd 2012 by Wave Books
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Apr 25, 2012 Matthew rated it it was amazing
"Alice Notley was/not married to/Ted Hughes stop/talking like/that around me"

"what I really want/is to scatter/my own/ashes"

We can become poetry and CAConrad offers procedures to wear poems as skin. Much of the book expands beyond the poems into descriptions of exercises that generated the poems, such as cooking and eating a Jim Brody poem or rubbing dirt from outside Emily Dickinson's house all over your body. The poems, socially activated and wisely enraged, constantly find joy in language and
Apr 03, 2012 Brian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: own
i have finished reading this book but i don't want to take it off my currently-reading shelf. it's one of those books that when you finish, it's still not finished with you. more than any other book i've read, it is about process. it contains photocopies of CAConrad's notes, the germs of exercises he poses for finding new ways into poetry. the base matter has always been there, but Conrad draws new maps to access them. he shows us what the poetry landscape looked like when he was there but that ...more
Aug 16, 2014 Patty rated it it was amazing
"DO NOT HESITATE to write the most brutal things that come to mind, HESITATE at nothing for that matter."

"I'm tired of poetry not saving the world"

Me too. I love this book.

Mary K
May 30, 2016 Mary K rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Bless the book designer for publishing this with vanilla bean covers and big, porous tracts of pages: this book is built to collect stains. For a compilation of somatic challenges meant excise concerns of respectability from a writing practice--how we engage "the muscle that bends language" (yes!)--it only seems right for the body of this text to show scars and fluids, too. I have to shout while reading CA Conrad or else I'm wasting my time. When I read CA Conrad, I feel a little less afraid of ...more
not sure what I just read but I dig it
Jan 21, 2013 J.A. rated it it was amazing
This book is like seeing inside of Conrad's poetry, the guts, the inner workings, the immense luxury of being told where a poem began, how exactly its seed was birthed into lines, and then fast-forwarding to the fully realized version, the poem proper. If poetics had a womb with a translucent facade, and we could look in uninhibited, it would be this book.
Nov 04, 2012 Jay rated it it was amazing
Write and read with our bodies
May 02, 2012 rebecca rated it it was amazing
loving you always CA.
May 01, 2012 Nw23 rated it liked it
I picked up this book because the idea of which sounded experimental and interesting to me. CAConrad (against Descartes?) included a number of somatic experiences to inspire himself, hence the collection of (soma)tic poems in this beautifully bound and designed book published by Wave. I will leave other interested readers to find out how each experiment has engaged the poet. What I would like to point out is that, and perhaps the fun part of this book, it is sometimes to hard to judge whether th ...more
Nov 24, 2012 Joe added it
Shelves: poetry, textbooks
As a natural contrarian to general consensus, I should probably slam this book. But fuck no. It's a thunderclap that lives up to the exceptional treatment WAVE has given it and which announces CA as someone we need to listen to in ways that his previous two books just couldn't.

Reading and evaluating this book just by the lineated poems is an insanity as the book puts forward so many times in the poems themselves, the exercise descriptions and larger, generous syntax of the book itself the idea t
Sean A.
Jul 01, 2014 Sean A. rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
4 and one half stars for the ideas behind and explanation of the somatic exercises. 3 and a half stars for the poems themselves. Too scattered and strewn about but some fantastic one liners and interesting and unexpected line break moments. Four and a half stars for the typography and layout. CA Conrad is charismatic and has piqued my interest, despite still not believing in crystals etc... I don't like war either though...
Dec 22, 2014 Jeremy rated it it was amazing
I love everything this somatic genius comes out with, and though I think of a crystal as just a shiny rock, perhaps there's something to be said for the embrace of weirdness and magic that permeates this how-to for aspiring know-it-somes. Should be (non)required reading for students of the Advanced Elvis Course, the civics refresher we didn't even know we needed.
Chris Schaeffer
May 04, 2012 Chris Schaeffer rated it it was amazing
I had the fun opportunity of contributing to an interview with CAConrad about this book, which isn't out yet (the, uh, interview I mean), but still gave me a good opportunity to read it closely on a very busy weekend. There's a lot to consider here about this book AS a book-qua-book, and there are a lot of ways in which it's a lot brasher and louder about itself in that regard than most contemporary poetry-- see for example the interview in the back or the appendix of reviews Conrad has done. Bu ...more
Jun 07, 2014 T. rated it it was amazing
I want wrap myself in this book and never leave.

Some of the somatic engagements ask too much (never tell a woman to insert anything inside herself for the sake of art, just saying) but the outcomes of these engagements are...glorious. Poems that FEEL. Poems that LIVE. Bodies as poetry. Yes. So much yes.
Jill Alexander Essbaum
Jan 24, 2015 Jill Alexander Essbaum rated it really liked it
This book is beautifully nuts-- a manual for creativity at its heart-- but not for everyone. Can you step outside the room of your skin? Go for it.
May 08, 2012 Tom rated it liked it
The poetry itself is OK--not as strong as The Book of Frank--but the writing exercises are ridiculous and they trivialize poetry. I.e., "Tie a white helium balloon with a red string around your penis. If you don't have a penis, stick a dildo in your vagina and tie the balloon to it. Walk around the room, taking notes on your thoughts. Take lots of notes." Or the ritual in which he doesn't bathe for three days, then rubs his body in dirt (taken from Emily Dickinson's home), and walks around town- ...more
Li Seagull
Dec 29, 2014 Li Seagull rated it liked it
Shelves: wtf, own-hardcopy, poetry, 2014
3.5 stars

Weird but good. liked the book of frank better though.
Samantha Siciliano
Jul 19, 2014 Samantha Siciliano rated it it was amazing
Oh goodness. I have never read anything so delicious.
Feb 25, 2015 Paige rated it did not like it
Well that was disturbing...
May 06, 2016 John rated it really liked it
This is worth returning to at a later day. There's too much to think about around the poems for just one or two reads.
Amrit Khalsa
Mar 22, 2014 Amrit Khalsa rated it really liked it
Strange, but great
This was an alight read. It was so-so. There were some particular lines that stood out to me; but overall, I did not like the style of the poetry. I view this sort of poetry to be performed rather than read. CA Conrad will make an appearance at a reading at my campus, and he's also visiting one of my classes. we'll see if my opinion of him changes tomorrow.
Cassandra Troyan
Mar 18, 2013 Cassandra Troyan rated it really liked it
There were points where I felt torn between the poem and its exercise, and often finding the directive the more intriguing part of the pair. BUT, CA CONRAD, you are queer and political and alive and to see that recognized in an embodied form is something much to be desired and should occur more often in such nascent ways.
Mar 30, 2013 Marcus rated it it was amazing
great as to be expected from C.A. Conrad. Generative and like all great work closes the gap between art and life.

Conrad's The Book of Frank is still my favourite though.
I have already given away four copies of this book, which is my placeholder review.
Dawn Lanuza
Dawn Lanuza marked it as to-read
Jul 21, 2016
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Jul 21, 2016
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Jul 20, 2016
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Jul 18, 2016
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CAConrad’s childhood included selling cut flowers along the highway for his mother and helping her shoplift. He is the author of eight books of poetry and essays, the latest ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (Wave Books) is the winner of the 2015 Believer Magazine Book Award. He is a Pew Fellow and has also received fellowships from Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Ce ...more
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