Book Cover

Praying Naked

Katie Condon

64 pp. 6 x 9
Pub Date: March, 2020

Subjects: Poetry

Series: The Journal Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize

Imprint: Mad Creek

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  ISBN: 978-0-8142-5573-5
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“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

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.

Photo of 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.


On the seventh day God says, What you’ve got is virgin charm & a knife in your pocket.
The Sacrifice’s Prayer
Praying Naked
My Mother Gives a Man Permission
Volatile Elegy
What Matters Most

Katie Condin, An American, One of the Roughs, a Kosmos in the Flesh
After All, Saint Catherine Is My Namesake
We Need to Talk
Ode to Gabriella
Giving Myself Advice
At Poetry Readings I’m Always Drunk
I’m a Kick-Ass Woman
When the professor asked the workshop, Whom among us now will speak about poetry ideologically? I thought with abandon ME! & then

In Winter
Driving, 4.a.m.
Don’t be Bitter, Baby!
How to Know the Wildflowers
Getting Through Monday
Poem from the Mouth of God
At the #1 Fried Chicken & Seafood

The Real Self is Very Scary
To Every Woman Who’s been Kept a Secret
To the woman who accused me of not being a feminist, I’m sorry
Argument for Loving from a Distance
To an Ex-Lover’s Daughter
Desire is a Sickness
From Space, the Wildflowers are One Bouquet on the Valley’s Grave
Real Elegy
Practicing Digressions


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