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While Standing in Line for Death

While Standing in Line for Death

By CAConrad

      • After their boyfriend Earth’s murder, CAConrad was looking for a (Soma)tic poetry ritual to overcome their depression. This new book of 18 rituals and their resulting poems contains that success, along with other political actions and exercises that testify to poetry’s ability to reconnect us and help put an end to our alienation from the planet.

        WINNER of the 2018 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry

        Finalist for the 2018 Firecracker Award in Poetry

        Finalist for the 2019 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award

      • Grief and survival drive these poems, but never so much that Conrad forgets anger…A ferocious work of queer rage.
        Elwin Cotman, Electric Lit

        The poems range widely from delightful to gut-wrenching and can move from despair to defiance to exuberance from line to line: “few things tire me more than/ imagining/ reincarnation/ a child/ struggling/ all over again to/ not favor war/ not surrender to greed.” Conrad consistently surprises, and few, if any, American poets are doing more visionary, disorienting, and wonderful work today.
        Publishers Weekly (starred review)

        At its hilt, this book exposes the little tolerance America has for the queer, the abject, and the mystical forces that Conrad and his poetry call home, and not only does it refuse to apologize, this book reclaims loss, all bruised and defiant experiences, and makes them a testament.
        Arkansas International

        Conrad may be our Ginsberg, as well as our Yoko Ono (whose work Conrad mentions), teaching us not so much how to write as how to live outside a great machine.
        Stephanie Burt, Academy of American Poets

        While Standing in Line for Death demonstrates that CAConrad is, in the end, a poet of defiant joy, straddling the line between self-indulgent cynicism and simpering happiness. He is a poet who fiercely embraces impossibility as the very condition of the hard-won anger and despair raging through this book.
        Tyrone Williams, PLUME

        Every word is charged to perform at its peak energetic level. Rituals call the poems into being and set the intention, and the poems themselves catalyze the energy. With their propulsive, often paratactic energies, Conrad’s work in this and other books seeks to remake or reset human awareness.
        Sara Burant, OmniVerse

        Killer drones, institutional homophobia, police violence and racism, ongoing wars, While Standing in Line for Death makes all of these things impossible to ignore, and by waking us up to these realities, this uncompromising and powerful poetry also wakes us up to the agency of tuning into our own bodies and the ways they are joined to the world.
        Colin Herd, 3:AM Magazine

        The poems contain language that is eaten up, digested, and propped within their stanza like gleaning results of process. There is often a harmony within them, and a dependable personal distance to them as well. They are from within the moment-to-moment of Conrad’s exercises and conductions. They are thorough investigations mesmerizing, mystical, and of the potential of the performed and the sustained, and the humbly cherished. They are, again, gifts.
        Greg Bem, Yellow Rabbits

      • CAConrad has been working with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. Their latest books are Listen to the Golden Boomerang Return (Wave Books, 2024) and 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

Publication Date: September 5, 2017

ISBN# 9781940696553 (7x9.75 160pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696546 (7x9.75 160pp, limited edition hardcover)

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