This series of 23 new (Soma)tic poetry rituals and resulting poems by CAConrad create what we can refer to as an "extreme present" set to reveal the creative viability of everything around us. Poetry rituals such as riding escalators and showing photographs of himself to strangers asking, "Excuse me, have you seen this person?" In another he pollinates flowers for security cameras, exclaiming, "I'M A POLLINATOR, I'M A POLLINATOR!" One was written with a ghost, another by stargazing to build his own constellations. (Soma)tic rituals are a practice of unorthodox steps aimed at breaking us out of the quotidian and into a more political and physical spiritual consciousness of The New Wilderness.
Listed in The Boston Globe's Best Poetry Books of 2014
Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry
Winner of The Believer Poetry Award
Again and again, CAConrad’s poetry demonstrates that self-exposure—the braver and more apparently audacious, the better—has the capacity not only to create some of the rawest, most intensely intimate and original poetry being written today, but also to act as a powerful force for overcoming the communicative barriers all around us.
Excerpted from the announcement for The Fifth Annual Believer Poetry Award to ECODEVIANCE
From these rituals come notes; from those notes come poems; and from those poems comes not just a view into his process, but an entrance into another present, which a reader could as easily follow on her own — across the page as a poem, or across time as a performance of the same ritual.
Michael Andor Brodeur, The Boston Globe
We need this so bad right now: an alternative to all the shoulds, the obligations we take on ourselves to be productive, do more, know more, and care harder so we can fix things; a counter to the stultifying and earnest gloom, self-flagellation, and resignation that is just crushing nature poetry. ECODEVIANCE is a subversive syllabus for a queer ecopoetics, ... exercises, all at once, in magic, telepathy, transgression, confrontation, fantasy, wish-fulfillment, interspecies communications, self-healing, and writing.
Charles Legere, Boston Review
The constant reverberations of collective and individual injury and suffering are openly registered in Conrad's work to memorable effect. Dedicated to his friends, ECODEVIANCE is kept from imploding on itself by love, camaraderie, and determination—a time capsule for the future wilderness and anyone who's being here now.
Charity Coleman, BOMB
These poems are extreme, it’s true. There’s no way to, there’s no reason to, deny this. When Conrad explains that he wants to “create” an extreme present, he doesn’t mean that the present which he creates is one that is extreme by virtue of the fact that he has bloodied his foot or inserted a plastic tube into his penis, it is extreme by virtue of the fact that we have all made it extreme—“I blame everyone when I blame / myself I’m that good a shot,” he says.
Drew Webster, Colorado Review
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, a back-to-nature agenda, and a goal of queer liberation.
Conrad's (Soma)tic rituals reinvent the world and his poems surprise the reader who imagines them before reading. Conrad gives us permission to be wild, to drop margins, to make sense and meaning, or not. CAConrad might be the best poetry teacher we have.
Timothy Otte, Hazel & Wren
I’m crazy about how this project combines a dead-serious activist mission (connecting with other humans despite and in full acknowledgment of war, violence and environmental degradation) with wacky procedural methods ripe for inspiration. I love that it lays the whole process and intention bare for all of us to see with a kind of transparency all too rare for poets. . .and yet the resulting poems are still mysterious and wholly unexpected.
Arielle Greenberg, The American Poetry Review
The language in Conrad’s poems is surprising in its rawness. While grounded in the specific and the material, the poems touch on Big, Important Issues. The poems themselves, however, stay firmly grounded in this world, in language that actual people use.
H. V. Cramond, New Pages
The quiet invitation to grab the wheel, as the reader, challenges a great deal of what a traditional book of poems does, where the podium being rocked by context angers those seeking meaning straight from the mouth of the poem. Here, there are many mouths and many, many teeth.
CJ Opperthauser, Heavy Feather Review
This book is an experience of the body in relation to and in communion with nature. Trajectories in relation to the potential of the page. A crystallization.
Heather Sweeney, Tarpaulin Sky
At 160 pages, ECODEVIANCE, by C. A. Conrad, is a whiz-bang rocket ship, overfilled with home-baked mind-altering goodies.
Annie Won, American Microreviews and Interviews
Throughout ECODEVIANCE, Conrad’s themes emerge: love, the body, lust, nature, crystals, the unending bullshit of America’s hatred, and war. Some lines will make you cackle while others will make your heart ache.
Sarah Rose Etter, Fanzine
CAConrad has been working with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. Their latest book is AMANDA PARADISE: Resurrect Extinct Vibration (Wave Books, 2021). The Book of Frank is now available in nine different languages. Other titles include While Standing in Line for Death, ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tic for the Future Wilderness, and A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon: New (Soma)tics. They received a Creative Capital grant, a Pew Fellowship, a Lambda Literary Award, and a Believer Magazine Book Award. With Robert Dewhurst and Joshua Beckman, they co-edited Supplication: Selected Poems of John Wieners. In 2022 Augusto Cascales made a film of their play The Obituary Show. They recently had their first solo exhibition at Fluent Gallery in Santander, Spain, titled 13 Moons: Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return. They teach at Columbia University in New York City and Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam. Please visit them online at https://linktr.ee/CAConrad88.
Publication Date: September 9, 2014
ISBN# 9781940696010 (7.5x10 160pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696003 (7.5x10 160pp, limited edition hardcover)