30 Nov 2016


CAConrad, 2011 Pew Fellow. Photo by Colin Lenton.


Excerpt from CAConrad's The Book of Frank (Wave Books, 2010).

"The reader is as creative as the writer, filtering poems through experience. A poem is a thousand poems if a thousand different people read it."

Living and working in Philadelphia for 25 years, CAConrad's (b. 1966) work falls between poetics, performance, and pedagogy. The charismatic, self-taught poet's most visionary works are writings he calls "(Soma)tic poetry," instructions and recipes that invite the reader-listener into deeply embodied experiences. "The aim of (Soma)tic poetry and poetics is the realization of two things about my work," writes Conrad. "One: Everything around me has the potential to spur new modes of thought and imaginative output. Two: The most vital ingredient to bringing humane, sustainable changes to our world is creativity. Poetry and other art disciplines are forms of courage."

Conrad's publications include The Book of Frank (winner of the Gil Ott Book Award from Chax Press in 2009 and reprinted by Wave Books in 2010); The City Real & Imagined, a collaboration with Frank Sherlock (Factory School, 2010); Advanced Elvis Course (Soft Skull Press, 2009); and Deviant Propulsion (Soft Skull Press, 2006), and others. In 2012, Wave Books published A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon (2012), a collection of 27 new and previously published exercises and their emerging poems. Of this book, Sean Singer of The Rumpus writes: "The (Soma)tic exercises are innovative and crucial to our art form. Conrad must be one of the most original practitioners of poetry forging new territory."

Conrad has participated in several artists residencies with support from the Center: the Ucross Foundation in Wyoming in late summer 2012; the Leighton Artists' Colony at Banff, Canada, in April 2013; and MacDowell in fall 2013.