Poetry News

Bloof Books Publishes CAConrad 'Censored Interview' With Library of Congress

By Harriet Staff


It appears that The Library of Congress asked CAConrad to participate in a new interview series with poets, only to turn around afterward and decline to run the piece! Lucky for us, and not so much for LOC, Shanna Compton at Bloof Books has published "The Library of Congress* CENSORED INTERVIEW," as it is now titled, as a full printed chapbook. Compton has also made the publication available as a free download. Conrad explains the situation in the introduction:

In the spring of 2016, I was contacted by staff at the Library of Congress asking if I would like to take part in a new interview series they are doing with poets. I said yes. Soon afterwards I received an email from Jasmine Platt with some very thoughtful questions about my poems and my practice. As with everything I took my time to answer each question exactly how I meant to answer it then submitted the results.

Time went by without hearing from anyone at the Library of Congress and I finally sent an email asking about the estimated date of publication. Instead of hearing from Jasmine someone else started writing to me asking if we could speak on the phone. I said that I preferred to be in contact through email. Then more time went by. When I wrote again the reply I received included a formal outline of what is too political and incendiary for publication, punctuated with, “Unfortunately we will not be able to include you in our Interview Series.”

Conrad's conversation with Platt is unsurprisingly straightforward about the realities of being a citizen--much less a poet--in a climate of injustice, war, and unrest. Conrad also speaks to how somatic practice affects his poetry, what it means to speak through character (as in The Book of Frank), what a vision for queer poetry might look like, and more. Again, find the PDF here. A brief excerpt:

[Conrad:] ...The title of my first book with the middle finger cover is Deviant Propulsion. My idea behind the title is that it is the deviants who propel the culture forward whether everyone is ready or not! You ask what is my vision for queer poetry and I say it is something written by poets whether they are homosexual, bisexual, heterosexual, or asexual, but poets who are willing to take on that deviant queerness and confront the madness because the madness is real. The madness of people accepting the most horrific possible things as normal, the madness of the HRC (Human Rights Campaign) saying that gay and lesbian Americans should consider working for Lockheed Martin, Boeing, or Monsanto. It is madness for an organization to call themselves the “Human” “Rights” “Campaign” when they openly endorse the world’s largest weapons manufacturers and another company known throughout the world for agricultural suicide and genocide.

You can pre-order the print version of the interview--and download the digital releases for free--at Bloof Books.