CA Conrad, author of nine books of poetry and essays, including the Lamba Literary Award-Winning "While Standing in Line for Death," is one of the foremost practitioners of what they call "(Soma)tic Poetry Rituals." Conrad joins David Naimon today to discuss their current ongoing project entitled "Resurrect Extinct Vibration." In CA's words: "My goal with the Resurrect ritual is to focus on Ecopoetics as more than our degraded soil, air, and water, but to also consider and begin including the idea of vibrational absence. When a species becomes extinct they take their sounds with them: song, cry, breath, footfall, heartbeat. And we in turn replace their sounds with our human sounds, our metal, machines, bombs, cars, etc. When I was born over half a century ago my cells were formed on a more complex, organic vibration than the cells of children being born today...Part of the ritual involves sleeping in my car in Walmart parking lots. I view Walmart as the epitome of the effects of Manifest Destiny upon the land. There are 9,000 Walmart stores in the lower 48 states with each one holding between 250,000 and half a million items on site for sale. Outside in the parking lots each night, and this is true no matter where I am in the United States, there are homeless families living in cars. Another component to the ritual happens at sunrise, listening to the extinct animal sounds on headphones while walking in a spiral formation inside the Walmart, working my way into the middle of the store. At the center of the spiral I find a spot to kneel and take more notes for my poem. In the end it is a poem pointing a finger within the body living inside the structures of capital and religion and how those forces worked together to shape ideas that in turn reshaped the planet. As a transgendered / gender-fluid person I will write through the broad spectrum of my experienced genders as a vehicle for the poetry to compound its message and song."
Publisher’s Weekly says of CA Conrad that "few, if any American poets are doing more visionary, disorienting, and wonderful work today." U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith says "CA Conrad's poems invite the reader to become an agent in a joint act of recovery, to step outside of passivity and propriety and to become susceptible to the illogical and the mysterious."