Conor Bracken, an assistant professor of English at the University of Findlay, will read from his book of poetry, titled “Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour,” on Thursday, Sept. 20 from 6-8 p.m. in the University of Findlay’s Center for Student Life atrium outside Ruscilli Family Bookstore. Copies of the book will also be for sale.
This debut collection focuses on the Cold War. It is the winner of the 2017 Frost Place Chapbook Competition.
From the Great Rift Valley to southeastern France to the cobbled streets of Buenos Aires, “Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour” traces the sticky footprints of Western power structures, conjuring more decrepit and indefensible postures of U.S. Cold War policy, while sussing out the contours of the totalitarian worldview that nourishes them. Within the poems, Henry Kissinger is represented as a metaphorical symbol of patriarchal dominance and political transgressions from the era.
Bracken said “Henry Kissinger, Mon Amour” was inspired by his own stances and family history.
“I wrote the book because I’ve been trying, for a long time, to process my personal and general connection to the operational history of the U.S.” said Bracken. “I’ve been concerned by this ever since I was a kid, since I lived overseas (my father was a spy) in many areas where the U.S. does not have a particularly spotless, noninterventionist record, to put it very mildly.
“Feeling as I do – which is to say ashamed and aghast – about past policies and actions of the U.S. across the globe (supporting Operation Condor, instigating regime change, installing dictators, etc.), and considering my proximity to them, I wanted to think through my responsibility, in committing and rectifying them,” Bracken explained. “This book was a first step of hopefully many more.”
The book is available for purchase at Amazon, and at Ruscilli Family Bookstore beginning Monday, Sept. 17.
Bracken’s poems have been published in the Colorado Review, Indiana Review, and The New Yorker, among others, and have received support from Brad Loaf, the Frost Place, Inprint and Squaw Valley. His translation of Mohammed Khair-Eddine’s “Scorpionic Sun” will be published in 2019 by the CSU Poetry Center.
Originally from Virginia, Bracken received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston. Along with teaching English at UF, he is an assistant poetry editor at Four Way Review.