The Body He Left Behind - Fitts Cover

The Body He Left Behind

The Body He Left Behind

$17.95 $15.00

Poetry by Reese Conner
Winner of the 2020 Cider Press Review Editor’s Prize Book Award

ISBN: 9781930781597
Binding: Tradepaper
Pub date: August, 2021

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Description

ISBN: 9781930781597
Binding: Tradepaper
Pub date: August, 2021

Cover art by Seth Fitts

Advance praise for The Body He Left Behind:

“Is a dry knowingness the defining quality of the 21st century so far—causing us to always define meaning down to menace? Did the 20th Century so gird us for loss that deep into the 21st, we can only broach the subject of tenderness with eight layers of disclaimer and self-defense? Here comes Reese Conner saying so: we know this, he writes over and over: happiness “unspools,” violence erases it. And yet Conner is also eking out of himself not just filial love for a gentle father or passionate engagement with a lover, but devotional attention to—doomed, or death-purveying (for chipmunks, mice, birds) or already-themselves-kaput—cats. Cats! A multitude? or only one, only Lewis, who is not practical, whose impractical, unexpected power is to undo what Conner “knows,” to make room in all our hearts for the unexpected, un-braced-for survival of besottedness and care.”
—Sally Ball, author of Hold Sway

“These are singular, quietly soaring poems. They innocuously but effectively reach for greater truths regarding the animal nature of our beings and where we as individual humans fall on that hierarchical scale. In these poems, we so easily find in their dailiness depths of feeling we recognize immediately, even if we have never said so aloud before. They artfully connect us to something important inside ourselves. Simply put, these are heartfelt—and powerful—love poems to and about cats, poems of genuine grappling with human sensibility. These are near sentimentality all the time, but without sentimentality. This is dangerously wonderful territory for a writer, and the poems explore their terrain well. They simply make us feel, so that even as they are about cats, these poems humanize us.”
—Alberto Rios, author of A Small Story About the Sky

“Reese Conner’s poems have a musical clarity heightened by an imagery that is both fierce and mundane with all the original instructions of a lyric mind. It fascinates the broad imperative of our all too human heart. This is the scrutiny of a suburban middle class. His work is so memorable. He’s a great natural writer, showing up first poems, here, early in our new century.”
—Norman Dubie, author of The Quotations of Bone

About the Author

Reese Conner is the winner of the 2020 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize for his manuscript The Body He Left Behind. He received his M.F.A. from Arizona State University, where he has continued to teach composition and poetry workshops. His work appears or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Missouri Review, Rattle, Ninth Letter, Cimarron Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Reese is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal. He received the Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Mabelle A. Lyon Poetry Award, and the now-defunct Chili Pepper from Rate My Professor. He was a finalist for the 2019 New American Poetry Prize, the 2018 Cider Press Review Book Award, and his poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart.

from The Body He Left Behind:

The Rapture

after Robert Dash’s “Into the Mystic”

The first thing to go was a sailboat.
It was raptured, just like that. Snap
your fingers, please. Like that.

An old couple watched from the end
of a pier. Beyond them, the sloop
tickled water for a bit, shuddered
like nostalgia or blackmail, then poof:
The mainsail, the headsail, the hull,
all the boat jargon lost specificity
like a ghost, bleeding form
and crying vowels. The boat
peeled from the water, stretching
a paintbrush of pixels in its wake
as it rose. The skyline, too,
began to glaze, and the sea
poured upward into it, everything
a swarm of movement.

Imaginative men who witnessed it
thought things like justice.
The old couple joined hands now.
And everyone who knew Robert Hass
knew he was right: everything
was dissolving, spiriting away
towards a more perfect self
of itself. As more world
blurred upward—housecats, tire swings,
entire orchards—a gentle murmur
spread in the bellies of the observant,
who saw even the ugly things
begin to ascend—blobfish, Smart Cars,
murder weapons, every issue of Us Weekly—
and thought, or began to think:
What about us? And they were all
naked now, they noticed—
clothes lifted from them
like water in a dry heat. Some ogled
the newly-naked world with intention.
Others began to tantrum—violent
or existential, all unable to translate
what must have felt like betrayal.
And that old couple, still holding hands,
looked skyward and stood up
on their tippy toes.

 

About the Author

Reese Conner (and friend)Reese Conner is the winner of the 2020 Cider Press Review Editors’ Prize for his manuscript The Body He Left Behind. He received his M.F.A. from Arizona State University, where he has continued to teach composition and poetry workshops. His work appears or is forthcoming in Tin House, The Missouri Review, Rattle, Ninth Letter, Cimarron Review, New Ohio Review, and elsewhere. Reese is an Assistant Poetry Editor for Fifth Wednesday Journal. He received the Turner Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Mabelle A. Lyon Poetry Award, and the now-defunct Chili Pepper from Rate My Professor. He was a finalist for the 2019 New American Poetry Prize, the 2018 Cider Press Review Book Award, and his poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart.

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