MALARIA

mala

Selected for NPR‘s Best Books of 2014

Malaria kills nearly one million people each year. Hundreds of millions more are sickened by the disease, and many of them are permanently disabled. Billions are spent each year to understand it. Researchers know the molecular details of the interaction between the mosquito and our own red blood cells, and the myriad ways in which malaria impacts the global economy and the advancement of humanity. But what of the public? Though its story is told in thousands of articles and in hundreds of books, many in the developed world are unaware of how prevalent malaria still is. MALARIA, POEMS testifies to the importance of bridging the chasm between science and art. It adds thread to a tattered and tragic global narrative; it is poetry’s attempt to reawaken care in a cold case that keeps killing. According to Cicero the aim of the orator is threefold: to teach, to delight, and to move. Poets during the renaissance embraced this idea, and MALARIA, POEMS reinvigorates it. Allen Ginsberg called for a poetry of social consciousness, a “bare knuckle warrior poetics.” Cameron Conaway, a former MMA fighter, offers MALARIA, POEMS both as a response to Ginsberg’s call and as a new call to contemporary poetry.

***

MALARIA, POEMS will change how scientists view the arts and how artists view the sciences. We believe this book will lead to increased collaborations across long disconnected academic departments and global health sectors. There are countless ways to fight malaria; poetry must now be taken seriously as one of them.”

-MalariaWorld, the world’s scientific and social network for malaria professionals

“A collection of poems like Cameron Conaway’s MALARIA is a reminder that poetry is at its most arresting when it works in the service of witness and truth-telling. In the hands of this innovative and galvanizing poet, these narratives are testaments of families broken by malaria, of stillborn children, of the damaged social and political systems that break down in the rippling circumference of the illness. In these tightly constructed poems, the uneasiness of disease spreads and spirals, decimating the lives of those in its wake. And when the narrator of ‘Density Slant’ says ‘Easier / to gift the gone / than give the living’ we, too, become complicit witnesses to the apathy surrounding malaria–and all of its metaphorical correlatives. This is a frightening and important book.”

-Adrian Matejka, 2014 Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, Author of The Big Smoke

“These are poems that nestle in the space between insect and skin—mosquito and mankind—and so sing the simultaneously beautiful and destructive qualities of both. Personal in their immediate pathos and historical in the rigorously researched evidence they assemble to critique and reckon with the past, Cameron Conaway’s MALARIA fails to offer any ready-made antidotes for the social and biological problems the disease continues to create.  This, however, is why I find them so powerful, so provocative, so worth carrying with me in the car, on the train, in the security line at the airport. Conaway speaks for no other aesthetic purpose than necessity itself which makes his poems as terrifying and troubling as the wings of the Anopheles mosquitoes that populate them.”

-Dorianne Laux, Author of The Book of Men, two-time finalist for the National Book Critics Award

“Poetry arises when it must and when it’s most needed. These poems are needed. Conaway’s MALARIA is a must read.”

-Jimmy Santiago Baca, winner of the American Book Award and the Hispanic Heritage Award for Literature

“With curiosity, intelligence and outright rage, Conaway confronts the plague of malaria across the globe. He dives at the subject matter with stinging poetry, so fierce it penetrates the reader’s skin, leaving her dizzy and feverish with the power of taut language, infected with Conaway’s outcry against the injustice of ‘the poor going to war for our/sweet wants.’ These are poems of witness and social injustice, airing corruption along the way. By far the greatest strength in this collection is how Conaway, in every poem, unflinchingly reminds the reader: ‘each other is ourselves.'”

-Dr. Leah Kaminsky, Physician, Poetry Editor at Medical Journal of Australia, Editor of Writer, M.D.

“Compassion often lies unawakened when it comes to issues of global health. MALARIA, POEMS awakens our compassion by bridging the distance that often exists between malaria and those of us living in Malaria-free countries as well as the imaginary distance we place between distant others and ourselves. As the line in the poem ‘Silence, Anopheles’ reminds us: ‘Each other is ourselves.’”

-Emma Seppala, Associate Director, Stanford University’s Center for Compassion & Altruism Research & Education

“Malaria will keep killing until we awaken the conscience of compassionate people everywhere; Conaway’s poetry pushes us toward that possibility. MALARIA, POEMS is an amazingly candid book.”

-Arun Gandhi, President, Gandhi Worldwide Education Institute

“Humans have seen themselves at the top of life’s pyramid. But as MALARIA reminds us, tiny species like the mosquito can control and threaten human life. This book of poems can inspire us to redirect our intelligence and creativity in order to stop the ecological destruction that has spread malaria, and to seek the collective solutions for eradicating this disease.”

-Dr. Vandana Shiva, Recipient of the Right Livelihood Award and the Sydney Peace Prize

“A novel approach to an ancient problem, these poems powerfully weave together the scientific facts of malaria with moving glimpses into its unsettling human toll.”

-Sonia Shah, Author of The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

“Cameron Conaway’s MALARIA, POEMS is a moving and powerful feat of the empathic imagination. Poems such as ‘Still Born’ take us into minds and lives that most of us barely or rarely think about, and the result is both shocking and inspiring. Conaway breathes new life into the idea that poetry can be as much about social justice as aesthetic pleasures and emotional insight.”

-Roman Krznaric, Author of Empathy: A Handbook for Revolution

MALARIA is something we don’t discuss any more in the so-called First World. It’s important, then, that Cameron Conaway has brought the ravages of this disease to our attention in highly charged, stylistically diverse poems which address both the human toll of malaria and the systemic problems which perpetuate it. The black market of counterfeit drugs, in which ‘to profit with pills on people /is as natural as moon song’ is here, but so is a ‘Warm rag on forehead /like a kiss too brief /and barely too long.’ His brilliant lyric pieces, in which similar word and letter sounds pleasingly flow into each other, remind us of our interconnection within the world community, while his stark prose poems indict the failures of imperialism and its apparatuses. In the end, there is always a sad kind of hope, ‘Something about how violence /seals itself silently within us /and we sometimes carry on.’”

-Charlie Bondhus, Author of All the Heat We Could Carry, winner of the 2014 Thom Gunn Award

“Among the many things privileged westerners like me can ignore, few cause more death and suffering than malaria. In his scary, mordant, lovely new book of poems, Cameron Conaway makes a brave, impassioned plea for attention to the millions for whom the disease is not ‘a metaphor or simile’ but a terrible threat. Lucid, lyrical, and instructive, MALARIA presses us all toward renewed awareness and new action.”

-Jeff Gundy, Author of Somewhere Near Defiance and Songs From an Empty Cage

BUY NOW

These are poems that nestle in the space between insect and skin—mosquito and mankind—and so sing the simultaneously beautiful and destructive qualities of both. Personal in their immediate pathos and historical in the rigorously researched evidence they assemble to critique and reckon with the past, Cameron Conaway’s Malaria fails to offer any ready-made antidotes for the social and biological problems the disease continues to create.  This, however, is why I find them so powerful, so provocative, so worth carrying with me in the car, on the train, in the security line at the airport. Conaway speaks for no other aesthetic purpose than necessity itself which makes his poems as terrifying and troubling as the wings of the Anopheles mosquitoes that populate them. – See more at: http://cameronconaway.com/malaria-poems/#sthash.abogWry9.dpuf
These are poems that nestle in the space between insect and skin—mosquito and mankind—and so sing the simultaneously beautiful and destructive qualities of both. Personal in their immediate pathos and historical in the rigorously researched evidence they assemble to critique and reckon with the past, Cameron Conaway’s Malaria fails to offer any ready-made antidotes for the social and biological problems the disease continues to create.  This, however, is why I find them so powerful, so provocative, so worth carrying with me in the car, on the train, in the security line at the airport. Conaway speaks for no other aesthetic purpose than necessity itself which makes his poems as terrifying and troubling as the wings of the Anopheles mosquitoes that populate them. – See more at: http://cameronconaway.com/malaria-poems/#sthash.abogWry9.dpuf