Poetry News

"We must do our best to make this world OUR WORLD, and we can do it through our art.": An Interview with CAConrad

By Harriet Staff

CAConrad took part in this interview with Philebrity.

Here he talks about poetry as religion and the impact of music on our brains and work, which lead to one of his (Soma)tic exercises. New (Soma)tics are gathered in A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, available for pre-order from Wave Books.

In your interview with poet Thom Donovan at the back of A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, you call poetry your religion. Is it fair to say that the (Soma)tic exercises are a kind of religious ritual?

Yes, I like that you put it that way. The first (Soma)tic poems were in 2005 when I ate a single color of food for a day for seven days. The first day I ate ONLY red foods, and wore a red wig that I found in a dumpster near a beauty academy downtown. This evil drag queen named Shaylee stole it from my apartment, but that’s another story. The exercise was about taking a color into my life, taking the full force of that color into my body and then into my writing. For white I used my boyfriend’s semen to write the number “108” on my forehead, which made my third eye pulse in FANTASTIC ways! OH THAT WAS FUN!

Creativity is the religion, or the permission towards it. EVERYONE is creative, everyone is filled with unused potential for creating.

You held a poetry workshop in Seattle that involved sitting and listening to Donald Byrd’s “Christo Redentor”, a jazz song in which no words are sung by a gospel chorus, and writing out of that experience. You’ve also incorporated songs from Elvis, Philip Glass and “Blue Velvet” into this practice. How does music engage our awareness in a way that words or sensory experience alone do not?

This is a great question. I had been studying Ernst Chladni’s technique of discovering the actual shape of sound. He put sand on a metal plate, then ran a violin bow along the edge of the plate, and the sand vibrated into the shape of the body of a violin. WOW! That just blew my mind! So the shape of sound was something I really wanted to find in SOME WAY in order to expand the concept of (Soma)tics.

Further research led me to the information that when we hear SOUNDS which are NOT LANGUAGE, they go to one part of the brain. But as soon as we hear WORDS spoken or sung they go to the part of our brains that decodes the message. “Blue Velvet” all day long just made my CRAZY! The words were always THERE! But with “Christo Redentor” my day was much richer, like I was able to fall inside the song and have it infiltrate many aspects of the day. I eventually did a (Soma)tic where I listened to “Christo Redentor” nonstop for 108 hours, which is four and a half days.

More after the jump.

Originally Published: March 7th, 2012
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