The Eggshell Parade brings you an interview with artist and musician Tim Fite.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a live performance from band John Rufus and the Dirty Backyard.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a The Noisy Reading Series reading and interview from poet Michael Homolka. Mike reads his poem “Family V,” which appears in the inaugural issue of Phoenix in the Jacuzzi Journal.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a The Noisy Reading Series reading and interview from poet Michelle Bitting. Michelle reads her poem “Free,” which appears in the winter 2012 issue of diode.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a reading and interview from poet Kelli Russell Agodon.


The Eggshell Parade's Strategies Blog: CAConrad

Hello, my name is CAConrad, thank you for having me on your radio show.

There are many ways to keep poetry with you at all times.  I’m naming my nail polish creations after poets. The JACKIE WHOA HOA NGUYEN is for the amazing poet Hoa Nguyen to help celebrate her new book AS LONG AS TREES LAST just published by Wave Books.

JACKIE WHOA HOA NGUYEN is a crème de mint polish with chunky golden glitter.

IMPORTANT:  The grade of glitter, that’s what’s important.  Fine, powdery gold glitter tends to hog the stage.  Chunky flakes of gold glitter on the other hand ARE FANTASTIC tiny golden mirrors reflecting off the smooth, cool green polish.

IMPORTANT:  Three coats of polish are BEST before adding the glitter.  Read from the new book between coats.  “Roadrunner also called / Medicine bird  Strappy / leaves adorn your beveled / being”

IMPORTANT:  There’s no point in adorning yourself with JACKIE WHOA HOA NGUYEN unless you know how to pronounce the alliteration properly.  Although her name is spelled H-O-A N-G-U-Y-E-N, it is pronounced “Hwa Win.”


On another note:
DRINK NO BLOOD BUT YOUR OWN is a new (Soma)tic Poetry Exercise I’ve created that involves a pilgrimage to several places in the United States known for healing.  The first is Edgar Cayce’s Institute in Virginia Beach.  The other two are in Asheville, North Carolina, for instance reiki practitioner Odilia Forlenza’s studio.  Along the way I will open a vein several times and drink my blood.  This blood meditation is partially symbolic for the untold numbers of war dead in Iraq and Afghanistan.  But this is also done to taste my blood and all its nutrient-rich particulars as they float along my veins to feed my cells.  Or I should say as I float along inside myself, because I am my blood.  If my blood is not me, then who is it?  Is it itself?  But then isn’t each cell itself?  Are we allowing cells to cede out of the larger body of cells?  Do they have the ability, meaning the awareness and intelligence to do this?  Or do we all need all of our cells, and blood, and bacteria to be an intelligent force for what Lynn Margulis calls symbiogenesis.

It’s funny contemplating this, but I like to know when and why and how the word autonomy gets to stretch out and exist in a life.  What part of the life can get it, if it can ever have it at all?  I believe MOST human beings do not get autonomy.  Maybe some people get to have it in increments in their day or life, but by and large most people don’t get to have it, ever.  Who are we who get to have it or not?  If death seems like freedom then you are most definitely enslaved in life.

Poetry is a place where I DEMAND autonomy!!  Even though I create workshops, the workshops are always a place where I do not interfere with the poems themselves as I vow to never micromanage.  I’m not a mentor.  Protégés are never what I’m looking for.  In fact the very idea of protégés turns my stomach!!  I want poets to turn around in their chairs and say, “WHO ASKED YOUR OPINION!?  CERTAINLY NOT ME!!”  The goal of the word Should should be that we kill it off.  And we can never let one another down by doing so.  

One time I was talking with a young poet before a poetry reading.  I was telling him how marvelous his chapbook of poems was.  It was great!  And it was a small book of poems he wrote when he lived in the mid-western United States before moving to the large eastern city where he now lives.  In the middle of our conversation an older poet (same age as me) comes up behind us and says, “CA, I see that you’ve met my new protégé!”  The young poet smiled with pride.  Pride at WHAT I do not know.  This horrified me.  Okay, to be accurate, this disgusted me more than anything.  Both of them made me sick.  The young poet smiling at being called a lackey, or whatever synonym you choose, be it disciple, or trainee.  HOW CAN THIS BE?  How can you write this marvelous chapbook of poems and want to then become a trainee, to demote yourself?

But the older poet disgusted me the most.  What is behind the sentence, “CA, I see that you’ve met my new protégé!”  The older poet clearly sees this young poet as a kind of property, and the sentence announcing to me this ownership is to warn me that I should keep my opinions to myself.  It’s always been clear to me that those who DEMAND RESPECT from others have terrible self-esteem and with that a low amount of SELF-RESPECT.  Poetry inevitably suffers when young poets bend the muscle of their poems toward the will of these sad, bitter creatures.  When I was nineteen Philadelphia was filled with old man poets who were always trying to make me read Ezra Pound!  IT WAS DREADFUL!  And they would be mean when I would reject their advice, and I would be mean back to them.  I would try to get to poetry readings JUST BEFORE they started so that I wouldn’t have to endure this old man tutelage.  I was learning far more on my own in the libraries at that time.  At one point I was in correspondence with the poet Cid Corman.  I enjoyed this airmail letter writing for the most part.  But at some point Cid asked to see my poems.  I sent him some.  He wrote back an incredibly bossy letter telling me what to change, how to START thinking differently when writing, BLAH BLAH BLAH, etc.  I hated that letter so much!!  I was visiting Jonathan Williams at his home in North Carolina and I read him the letter.  Jonathan said quite simply and directly, “Ah, Cid Corman, one of those poets who wants you to write just like him, only not as well!!”

Jonathan Williams was one of the few older poets I could trust to leave me to find my own way inside poetry.  There is nothing better for you, your poems, and for the history of poetry than to fight for your poems as you want to write them.  And I do mean there is NOTHING better!!  When I think back about that young poet whose chapbook was so marvelous and the older poet calling him their protégé I’m sad.  It disgusted me so much that I had to walk outside to bum a cigarette.  If I had the opportunity to do that time over I would lean forward in my seat and say to the young poet, “Are you kidding?  Protégé?  Your poems are BETTER than their poems, you can’t be their or anyone else’s protégé!!”  I would say that, instead of going out for a smoke and leaving the young poet and his poems to the perils of a sad, pathetic older poet who needs to lord their expertise and fondle the young.  Enslavement in poetry makes me nothing but angry. Let me leave you with a quote from Mina Loy, something she said nearly a century ago in an interview.  She understood autonomy’s value like no one else:

If you are very frank with yourself and don’t mind how ridiculous anything that comes to you may seem, you will have a chance of capturing the symbol of your direct reaction. The antique way to live and express life was to say it according to the rules. But the modern flings herself at life and lets herself feel what she does feel, then upon the very tick of the second she snatches the images of life that fly through the brain.


The Eggshell Parade brings you an interview with animator David Firth.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a live performance and interview from band herb and dk.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a reading and interview from poet Marie-Elizabeth Mali.


The Eggshell Parade brings you a reading and interview from poet Neil Shepard.