cover image Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness

Ecodeviance: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness

CAConrad. Wave (Consortium, dist.), $22 trade paper (160p) ISBN 978-1940696-01-0

"Anyone who makes us remember we are naked animals under these clothes is dangerous," declares Conrad (A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon), and by that very definition the author himself is indeed dangerous. The poet, performer, and essayist has earned affection, applause, and imitation for books that combine his verse with short essays and exercises, an arrangement the poet labels "(soma)tics" and uses to instruct readers on the composition of poetry. Much of Conrad's work directly illuminates his politics, attacking the separation that he believes American culture creates between humans and the natural world. He presents at once a project of radical existential protest ("neckties/ lynch my spirit"), a back-to-nature agenda, and a goal of queer liberation. The verse itself can end up even more viscerally affecting, energetic, and raw than the programs that produced it, as evidenced by the line: "I have lost the will to grieve and need to find it/ back of your dream taller smarter more in love." As with Allen Ginsberg in his youth, Conrad's intensity may scare off some readers; nevertheless, he is a poet whose actions, not just his words, garner the spotlight. (Sept.)