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Christina Conrad

From a letter to Dale A. Edmands

"I have always been one of the obsessed. From birth. I could stare at the head of a pin for a million years. I am subject to crushes, obsessions, fetishes. Each time I fell madly in love, the object of my passion was never available. Delay was my closest lover. Yet Lucidity came to me. I learnt to work with suffering, ruthlessly applying it. I worked with the bloody tangle, unwinding the cords that threatened to strangle, working like a mad silk worm, year after year... In darkness, in blinding light light, I studied the somber jewel of sorrow. Stumbling upon secret seams of joy, I found a type of balance. Working like a medium, I called up many influences, sorting them blindly, perceptively. This is the way with creative people - they are born with an excess of mental energy. If not used properly it rots. In this way one must be careful with obsession. One must work with it... the energy must be conducted... and one must learn how to do this, otherwise it turns back on the creator causing stagnation and torment..."


Christina Conrad
Examining her possibilities

click on photo to go to
"The Poetry of Christina Conrad"

Conrad was born in New Zealand in 1942, the daughter of the English/Jewish painter, Patrick Hayman. She is regarded by many art historians and critics as New Zealand's most exciting and original artist, and its leading exponent of "art brut". Her paintings have been exhibited in major galleries in both the north and south islands, as well as in Australia, the U.K. and the United States.

Conrad is also an acclaimed poet & playwright. Her first book of poetry, this fig tree has thorns,is considered a modern-day classic of New Zealand literature, and her play, A Modern Crucifixion, will be produced in New York in 2000. Selections from her early poetry can be found in Big Smoke : N.Z. Poetry from the 1960's and 1970s (Auckland University Press, 2000), The Oxford Book of Modern New Zealand Verse (ed by Vincent Sullivan), and The Penguin Book of Contemporary New Zealand Poetry (ed by Ian Wedde). Her art and poetry have been featured in both print and online publications, including PoetryMagazine.com, Clay Palm Review, Another 100 New Zealand Poems for Children (Random House), The Alsop Review, Conspire, Kookamonga Square and Moondance. She is also represented in The Bloomsbury Book of Women Writers.

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