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Through language both reverent and reckless, Katie Condon’s debut collection 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. The 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.
About the Author
Katie Condon’s poems have appeared in The New Yorker and Prairie Schooner, and her work has received support from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and Tin House.
“As daring as it is vulnerable… Desire, need, and the social and political implications of the body is a labyrinth with no clear end in sight, but it is one that needs to be navigated. Condon’s debut doesn’t shy away from the confessional, and although it examines uncomfortable truths, it never fails at being hopeful, in reminding us that for every perceived flaw, there is a perfection to be celebrated.”—Esteban Rodríguez, The Adroit Journal
“Praying Naked kicks ass and elbows the sky as Condon follows the desire that created her, a gift from her mother. Each prayer is a poem of sacred abandon. Condon is a poet who looks you in the eyes as she sings.” —Joy Harjo, US Poet Laureate
“Katie Condon’s first collection of poems wrestles with belief and flesh in equal measure. God appears alongside lovers, the sacred alongside the profane, with desire—both the ecstasy and weight of it—woven inside and through it all. Beautiful, thrilling, strange, and surprising—a cautious celebration, a hopeful elegy.” —Nick Flynn, author of I Will Destroy You