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You Don't Have What It Takes to Be My Nemesis


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About the Author

CAConrad has been working with the ancient technologies of poetry and ritual since 1975. They are the author of numerous poetry collections, including The Book of Frank (2010), Amanda Paradise: Resurrect Extinct Vibration (2021) and the selected volume You Don’t Have What It Takes to Be My Nemesis: And Other (Soma)tics (2023). They have received many grants and awards, including most recently the 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. They regularly teach at Columbia University in New York City and at the Sandberg Art Institute in Amsterdam.


CAConrad's poems invite the reader to become an agent in a joint act of recovery, to step outside of passivity and propriety and to become susceptible to the illogical and the mysterious
*Tracy K. Smith*

In what is now the classic CAConrad mode of both exuberance and defiance, this book, like much of Conrad's epical body of work, is a tremendous ball of fire hurled into the dark recesses of our worlds (minds?). Luminous, sobering, but not without a capacious kindness in its ethos, this latest is a vibrant achievement from one of America's most legendary living poets
*Ocean Vuong*

Conjured in the extreme present, this is a vital addition to the global poetry canon. Through a lifetime of devotion to craft, Conrad has achieved an inventive and astonishing collection: a haunting, a prayer, a connection. They show how the ancient technology of poetry is between all things, living and not. Queer and gorgeous, filled with grief and belonging, a body within a body. Just stunning. I am dumb-struck
*Joelle Taylor*

CAConrad always argues (from the inside of their poems) for a poetry of radical inclusivity while keeping a very queer shoulder to the wheel. Their kind of queerness strikes me as nonpolarizing, not intentionally but because of the fullness of their exposition, a kind of gigantism that seems to me to be most deeply informed by love, and a tenderness for the ravages and tumult of existence
*Eileen Myles*

These are psychotropic, visionary songs of love and defiance. CA celebrates poetry as a connecting force, a spell-work which binds us to the earth, animals, stars, and one another
*Ralf Webb*

CAConrad's work is as tough and as vulnerable as our bodies, as intricate and blunt as a flattened copper penny or a lily of the valley or the nests we'd build if we were birds. There's a love poem here for Jim Brodey, who once talked about poems bursting apart with 'extreme gracious information'. Right? Gleaming like a mineral in the contemporary nightmare, that's what this book is made of: through and through
*Luke Roberts*

I've been a fan of CAConrad's work from the beginning. There is always a necessary and vital life force at work in this poetry. This is a wondrous and essential selection of their noble life project
*Peter Gizzi*

At a time when I don't always know how to make sense of what's going on, CAConrad serves as a cleareyed seer
*Jillian Steinhauer*

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