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Sex, increasingly an undesirable subject in the poetry world, is so frequently glowingly present in the structure of this new book. Sex is the desire to survive—not just to multiply, but to be. Kind of an outsider shaking his fist at capitalism and the ludicrousness of it by examining its smallest unit, which is an individual, or the family.
One poem describes getting a ride hitchhiking in a truck covered in semen stains. Yet a queer person is always told to ACT LIKE US—for your own good—so you won’t bring all this grief upon yourself. This kind persuasion goes beyond simply telling us what we should do and look like, but informs us of what we should read and write.
I told my grandmother it was bothering me how mean people were acting, and she [gave me] this sentence, which has remained a source of strength I can always find when I need it. CA: The facts are I became macrobiotic and was getting physically healthy, but still just an absolute emotional mess. EM: That seems like a grid for all the switching in the book. EM: You wanted to talk about these things in some way? I mean, for some people a cunt on page one is inconceivable. So, if I’m a man and this is my fear, the giant pussy, I’ll step back and make it instead the absence in my son, or else “Frank saw a giant eat a park bench with her vagina.
CA: What I find ironic is that for Jerome Rothenberg and Pierre Joris, of that whole group, Sexton’s the only one they chose to put in is very important to me, though: “Well of course they’re staring, we’re very interesting.” She said this to me when people were staring and whispering, probably saying, “There’s that whore Carla’s bastard son,” or whatever. Drugs were more of a block to my creative powers than anything. It really determines whether people will keep reading or not. You go one step further so that it becomes something else. .” Somehow the absurdity of the fear of the word or the power of the thing becomes something that males and females can both stand outside of, enjoyably even. CA: Well, can I tell you, one vagina poem that upsets people, women, the most is the one about Frank eating his wife’s bloody tampons.
, his first full collection, and also his presence on Philly Sound, a blog he runs with his friends that is full of new poems, Conrad’s enthusiasms for other poets, political messages and analysis, and poetry exercises. I would sell flowers for her on the side of the highway because she had a police record and couldn't find work, and it was a full-time job. CA: I could trace it back to when I was selling those stupid flowers—all I did was read. And it sort of got conflated with my home environment, which was very bad.
His “(Soma)tic” poetics have a quickening effect on poets at all moments in their “careers.”I’ve grown to love CA Conrad—the man, the work, and all he attempts and represents—because he always argues (from the inside of his poems) for a poetry of radical inclusivity while keeping a very queer shoulder to the wheel. Well, some people have problems with the characters in the beginning. Child labor laws meant nothing to her, and I really had to rebel once I got older. I was already sort of a big basket case because of what was going on with my mother’s new husband and my sister.
I’d admired his poems for years, having met him on another afternoon in New York when he sought me out of enthusiasm for my work. It seemed a very traditional and direct method of establishing lineage. ” And I say, “Because that’s my mother.” I mean, my mother is not this sacred text that everybody likes to pull from for their mothers, or whatever. I mean, I lived in a car for half a year with her and it was not fun, you know? In terms of what you were writing, what you were reading? There were these rats burrowing under the pelt, and everything kind of sickened and grossed me out in a way. But it wasn't until I was completely clean for a couple years that started to come out of me. Film wants to dictate images, where poems give the reader’s mind the space to create their own world, their own film. What’s really funny and wonderful about how you violate the mild terms of readership is that you take the thing as we know it, and then show it in all these completely excessive ways—and then you go even further. Both staring at the horror and restoring magical powers to the female. Even when I was macrobiotic I was still wanting to do drugs at first. EM: They’re all influenced by New York School poets, but it’s like New York School poets? But it’s like the unmentionable, like a lineage suppression. CA: Movies were queer; there’s a queer way to find yourself in the movies. I want poetry to be the world film can’t access but thinks it can. My mother smacked me when I tried to tell her what was going on. Allowing it to happen and being confused, acting confused, you know? I told him what we were going through, and he just left us in this situation.
.” I didn’t even know what he meant, but I knew it was really bad, and my mother didn’t do anything. EM: It’s so clear that the kids are alive—know what’s going on, and the adults are kind of these blowy, absent creatures. One of the Frank poems is about the father giving the child to the pornographer.
But one day this buck, this deer with a full set of antlers, ran across the highway, and a tractor trailer hit it, and it went down into this very deep ditch, maybe about 100 yards from where I was. He would come home drunk, and she would be in a closet.