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Cover of The Body He Left Behind by Reese Conner
August 2021
Cider Press Review

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The Body He Left Behind

Reese Conner

Sally Ball, the author of "Hold Sway" says this about the book: “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.”


Reese Conner is an instructor in the Department of English’s Writing Programs at Arizona State University. He is also an alum, holding a Master of Fine Arts earned at ASU in 2015.

Praise for this book

“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. ... They artfully connect us to something important inside ourselves. ... 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 Ríos
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"