VIRTUAL - Conor Bracken, Katie Condon, and Adrian Matejka

Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 7:00pm

The event will take place on Zoom. Click here to register for the event.

Conor Bracken will be reading with Katie Condon, and Adrian Matejka.

In his debut collection of poems, The Enemy of My Enemy is Me, Conor Bracken traces the nerves of toxic masculinity—white as maggots but taut as lyre strings—that twitch and fizz inside events as homegrown as school shootings and as distant as the execution of medieval French heretics. Everywhere, though, there are bodies: the stout slouch of Henry Kissinger in a towel, a headless snake writhing in a footwell, a cantor with a beautiful voice and an inexorable need to be touched. And then there’s the body of our speaker: “white and alive and in love” and damaged by the same ravenous appetites he isn’t always able to curb. There is no hero here, only a song that turns towards and away from reckoning with the costs the neo-imperial world order extracts from bodies both supine and thrashing. These poems flicker like fire and billow like night’s velvet curtain, which you can “roughen with one hand / and smooth with the other.”

Through language both reverent and reckless, Katie Condon’s debut collection Praying Naked renders the body a hymn. Praying Naked is Eden in the midst of the fall, the meat of the apple sweet as sex. In this collection, God is a hopeless and dangerous flirt, mothers die and are resurrected, and disappointing lovers run like hell for the margins. With effortless swagger and confessional candor, Condon lays bare the thrill of lust and its subsequent shame. In poems brimming with “the desire / to be desired” by men, by God, by lovers’ other women, by oneself, she renders a world in which wildflowers are coated in ash and dark bedrooms flicker with the blue-light of longing. Our speaker implores like an undressed wound: “is it wrong to feel a hurt kind of beautiful?” Ecstatic and incisive, Praying Naked is a daring sexual and spiritual reckoning by a breathtaking new poet. 

Conor Bracken's first book of poems, The Enemy of My Enemy is Me, will be out this June from Diode Editions. His chapbook, Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour (Bull City Press, 2017), won the fifth annual Frost Place Chapbook Competition, and he is the translator of Mohammed Khaïr-Eddine’s Scorpionic Sun (CSU Poetry Center, 2019), and Jean D’Amérique's No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2022). His work has earned fellowships from Bread Loaf, the Community of Writers, the Frost Place, Inprint, and the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and has appeared, or will soon, in BOMB, Gulf Coast, New England Review, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Sixth Finch, and more. An assistant poetry editor at Four Way Review, he lives in Ohio.

Katie Condon is the author of Praying Naked, winner of the 2018 The Journal Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize. Most recently, her poems have appeared in the New Yorker and Ploughshares. Katie is an assistant professor of English at Southern Methodist University.


Praying Naked (OSU JOURNAL AWARD POETRY) By Katie Condon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780814255735
Availability: NOT ON OUR SHELVES. Usually Arrives in 4-7 Business Days
Published: Mad Creek Books - March 19th, 2020

Somebody Else Sold the World (Penguin Poets) By Adrian Matejka Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143136446
Availability: Unlikely to Be Available
Published: Penguin Books - July 6th, 2021