by Christopher Bogart
In his new book of poetry, Christopher Bogart follows the lead of Emanuel Acho (author of Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man) who encourages white people to be courageous, informed, and empathetic to the treatment of their Black brothers and sisters. Bogart is stepping up “to do his part.” Employing the paradigm of an accidental meeting between two white strangers at a local bar and the conversation that ensues, he encourages the reader to explore the problem of systemic racism and to start this conversation with others.
This Conversation is divided into two forms of poetry: poetic dialogue written in free verse to present the dialogue at the bar between the two strangers, and a variety of traditional & non-traditional forms of poetry to expand upon the issues that are brought up and discussed in this conversation.
About the Author
Christopher Bogart is a working poet and writer who has earned an MA in Creative Writing, and is presently working on an MFA, at Monmouth University.
In 2015, Bogart was chosen as First Runner Up for Monmouth University’s inaugural Joyce Carol Oates Award for Excellence in Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction. In 2017, he was chosen as one of two finalists for The Brian Turner Literary Prize for Fiction. In 2018, his chapbook about the Yuma 14, titled 14: Antología del Sonoran, was awarded third place in The Poetry Box Chapbook Prize and was published in October of 2018 by The Poetry Box. He was nominated for a Pushcart Prize for his poem, “Abraham Morales Hernandez.”
In April of 2020, The Poetry Box published his chapbook titled Breakpoint about America in the era of Donald Trump, and a full-length book of poetry in May about the plight of Central American migrants, titled The Eater of Dreams.
On August 1, 2005, he had presented a paper on the importance of poetry in the teaching of literature and writing to the Oxford Round Table at the Oxford Union Debate Hall at Oxford University.
He is presently working on his first novel, tentatively titled The Beast, about the plight of two Central American teenagers who flee poverty and crime in search of a better life in the United States.
Early Praise for This Conversation:
This poetic volume is not just words, but tools of wisdom. This book is a perfect first step to healing old wounds—one reader and one verbal exchange at a time.
—James C. Ellerbe, poet/founder of Not Enough Words, LLC,
and author of Beyond the Event Horizon
This Conversation…not only enriched the academic environment of Monmouth University, but also served to challenge our collective intellectual development. For me, Chris Bogart was one of the great highlights of the day, showing us the excellence of our graduate students. His excellent caliber of creative work is a vehicle for having discussions around race. It is a rare contribution that is beautifully written and of such practical importance.
—Geoffrey Fouad, PhD, assistant Professor of Geography
and organizer of Interdisciplinary Conference on Race, Monmouth University
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It covers not only all the topics a conversation like this would have, it also provides different perspectives on each topic with glimpses of some of the culture that a lot of Americans have no idea exists. The placement of the individual poems within the dialogue, I feel, gives additional yet powerful meaning beyond the dialogue itself. The imagery of one of the main characters scratching off the wet beer sticker with his fingernail, and the movements of the two characters as they converse while holding their beers, are spot on.
Anytime the topic of racism, or BLM, comes up in the future, I will now feel empowered to try to have this conversation myself. And I’ll be sure to recommend this book, as well.
—Michael Borrero, software engineer
This book by Christopher Bogart asks crucial questions in our modern-day quest for racial equity and justice. He does so in a series of “conversations” between two ordinary people, white, which go deep into the roots of the whys and wherefores of our present crisis. Each conversation is followed by a poem, which beautifully examines the topic of conversation. These well-crafted poems, of many different styles, could stand on their own, apart from the book, but fit well in its confines. One of the poems, “One Drop”, struck me as particularly stark and poignant:
What sense of science
Makes DNA when
Just one drop
Washes all away
Into the wooden galley’s hold
To make them stay –
To pay the price
They’ve always paid.
A fair question. And one of many in Bogart’s This Conversation.
—R. Bremner, author of Hungry Words, Absurd, and Pencil Sketches
Chris Bogart’s book is a lightning rod of discomfort and relevance. It is indeed an allegorical conversation that honestly takes place between the reader and the reader’s societal subconscious. This Conversation is to be read with an open heart in chest and mirror in hand as it will force readers to re-examine themselves, as Bogart demands, with more compassion, critical thinking, and candor as they pertain to mending and rectifying the evils of generational racism from all who dare to read this crucial work from a true ally.
—Ras Heru Stewart, CEO of Rebel Ink Publishing,
executive producer of Rhythm & Words: Creative Writing