“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.” –Audre Lorde
This workshop will focus on (Soma)tic poetry rituals designed for the Queer body. With over 200 anti-LGBTQ laws issued by USA lawmakers in 2016, a queer poetics is more essential than ever for harnessing our perceived threat to society and wielding it back into our poems to make our lives thrive. As queer poet Erica Kaufman says, “Thriving requires more than just survival.”
Poet CAConrad has successfully used (Soma)tic poetry rituals to overcome debilitating depression after the murder of his boyfriend Earth (aka Mark Holmes). He has also created writing rituals using the night sky to design homemade star constellations, another ritual to experience what the impact of hearing the word “drone” has on the human body, and many others from talking with trees, ghosts, translating Shakespeare’s sonnets with crystals, and coping with the destroyed wilderness of our planet.
The (Soma)tic rituals we work with during the week will help us see the creative viability in everything around us by creating a space of “extreme present” where being anything but present is next to impossible. We will also build personalized rituals for each participant, showing how we can find ways to find our poems in almost any situation or circumstance. As poet Alice Notely says, “Poetry’s so common hardly anyone can find it.” We will also discuss how poetry and their rituals help us end our alienation from our planet and from one another. Creative people are survivors and we will examine the important role of artists for the future health and happiness of our species.
CAConrad is the author of 9 books of poetry and essays, the latest is titled While Standing in Line for Death (Wave Books, 2017). A recipient of a Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Literature, they also received The Believer Magazine Book Award and The Gil Ott Book Award. CA is currently working on a (Soma)tic poetry ritual titled, "Resurrect Extinct Vibration," which investigates effects the vibrational absence of recently extinct species has on the body of the poet and the poems. They teach regularly at the Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam and their books, essays, films, interviews, rituals and other publications can be found online at http://bit.ly/88CAConrad
They have taught poetry and (Soma)tic poetry rituals to poets, dancers, and visual artists. They have taught the last two spring semesters at Columbia University in New York City. They teach regularly at Naropa University, Evergreen State College, Pratt Institute, Sarah Lawrence, Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam, and the OSU creative writing program in Oregon. They have also been a visiting writer at Brown, Bard, Bennington, CalArts, Pomona, University of Chicago, Iowa Writers Workshop, University of Wyoming, and others. They have given lectures on Ecopoetics and Occult Poetics at KW Museum in Berlin, Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, Zurich University of the Arts, Kunstverein in Dusseldorf, 21er Haus in Vienna, Bergen Academy of Art, University of Glasgow, and others.