The Cougar Chronicle

CA Conrad Reads for CSUSM

Books in the Kellogg Library

Books in the Kellogg Library

Photo illustration by Jada Mullins

Photo illustration by Jada Mullins

Books in the Kellogg Library

Dylan McCall, Staff Writer

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On Oct. 26, the Community and World Literary Series (CWLS) invited Pew Fellow poet, CA Conrad, to perform for public literary readings. The CWLS hosts on-campus literary readings several times a semester which feature different authors from around the world.

Conrad, author of nine other books of poetry, is known for his “(Soma)tic poetry rituals,” physical, social and mental exercises that lead him to create his poems. He read from two of his publications, first his (Soma)tic Manifesto which was published to the Poet’s House in Madison Square Garden, July 2017.

The majority of his readings came from his newly published book, “While Standing in Line for Death” from Wave Books, a collection of his rituals with sets of poems following through.

The book begins with Conrad’s triumph over his depression caused by the homicide of his partner, Earth.

He said he used a clear quartz crystal, Earth had given him in his ritual. “I used this crystal as a library [to collect my thoughts about this] man I loved. [I would put the crystal under my hair wrap. Then every morning,] I would swallow a smaller crystal and s— it out, sterilize it and do it all over again,” said Conrad.

This eventually helped clear his depression and move on. He then read from other sections of his book and explained what the publication process was like for him

Afterward, Conrad was open to questions about his process and anything pertaining to him and his work.

“This was my favorite so far. He was so open and made everything feel so real. Reading his rituals made it very performative,” said LTRW student Gianna Ramirez who attended previous events. “Each reading is different. There’s such a variety of authors.”

The CWLS will host another reading on Nov. 16 with authors, Hugo Garcia Manriquez and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha.

This series invites students, faculty, staff and the public to experience live performances. It gives people an opportunity to explore different authors and literary genres. For more information visit

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