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Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet Paperback – September 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"I was inspired."
-Ken Shamrock, UFC Hall of Famer

"Cameron Conaway's fierce, fearless memoir offers a clear-eyed look at a brutal childhood, an
angry father, and a son's gathering demons. In the end, though, the author carves his way
forward through an unlikely combination of mixed martial arts, poetry, and human connection.
This book never fails to surprise, and along the way Conaway gives voice and hope to all
young men who must learn to grow up and out of their fathers' footsteps or risk falling into the
same hole."
-Dinty W. Moore, author of Between Panic & Desire

"I couldn't stop reading. Conaway's writing style is as captivating as his story. He takes you
inside the heart, mind and soul of a fighter. He is the voice for all fighters that battle their
demons inside the cage."
-Glen Cordoza, author for Victory Belt Publishing

"Poetical version of Jiu-Jitsu!"
-Saulo Ribeiro, World BJJ Champion, author of Jiu-Jitsu University

Conaway presents us with a candid story of a never-give-up attitude and an appreciation of
life despite all of its challenges. His expressionism effectively details his endurance in battling
his demons through mixed martial arts and the human spirit. Caged shows us how something
many consider brutal can actually be a vehicle for achieving purpose and a better understanding
of ourselves."
-Jim Arvanitis, Black Belt Magazine's 2009 Instructor of the Year

There are writers who have ideas, and there are those who have craft. Conaway is both."
-Lisa Hickey, CEO of Good Men Media Inc.

About the Author

Cameron Conaway has come to be known as "The Warrior Poet." He teaches Shakespeare for Ottawa University, is an award-nominated teacher of creative writing for Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth and writes about MMA nutrition for ESPN-affiliate Sherdog.com. He's received the Richard Russo Award for Creative Writing, is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer, was the University of Arizona's 2007-2009 Poet-in-Residence and is 2-0 at 155lbs as an MMA fighter. His debut collection of poems, Until You Make the Shore, will be released in January 2012 from Salmon Poetry. Cameron has trained with Renzo Gracie and is now studying Muay Thai in Thailand under sponsorship from WhatsYourFight.com.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Threed Press (September 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615521770
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615521770
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,362,428 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cameron Conaway is a former MMA fighter, an award-winning poet and the author of five books, including Malaria, Poems, one of 5 poetry collections to make NPR's "Best Books of 2014" list. He's served as a United Nations "Social Good Fellow" and a Rotary International End Polio Now "HistoryMaker." Conaway is on the Editorial Board at Slavery Today: A Multidisciplinary Journal of Human Trafficking Solutions. He teaches at Penn State Brandywine.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jason Eldredge on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
If I've ever read a more honest and open memoir, it obviously was not as memorable as 'Caged'. Cameron definitely hangs it all out there for the reader to ponder, critic, agree or argue, and overall just enjoy. From his difficult childhood, to which so many can relate, to his struggle to become a successful MMA fighter and then ultimately finding a preferred path as a celebrated author and poet, he speaks to the reader in a way that most authors fail. There is so much to take from these stories, poems, training tips, and overall mindset. Cameron was/is never a quitter. He's an overcomer.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Yael Grauer on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
I stayed up until well past 2AM to read Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet. I couldn't put it down, couldn't turn away, flitted from page to page to soak it all in.

Caged is about fighting, but it's not about fighting. It's about amateur MMA fighter Cameron Conaway's reasons for training, how he grew into it, and why he eventually walked away from it. It delves into the depths of his difficult childhood, where he struggled to find male role models amidst the father that failed him, seeking old UFC videos to fill the void. It's about the triumphs he discovered in the gym, in the cage, in the classroom and in the written word.

Cameron's reflection on his own journey flits between the abstract and the mundane, always engaging, always brutally honest and raw. Caged is heartfelt, poetic, rhythmic and fierce. To say it transcends the topics typically covered in books written by fighters would be an understatement. The book delves into the heart, soul and spirit
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard S. Friedman on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Accomplished MMA fighter and award-winning writer Cameron Conaway presents in Caged the true story of a young man who overcomes a family background and his own inner torment by learning to channel his frustrations into the physical world of mixed martial arts fighting and the cerebral world of poetry and writing. It teaches the value of personal reflection, how life's most painful moments can lead to a deeper understanding and appreciation of human nature, and just what is possible when optimism and determination combine to overcome tough odds.

An Amazing preface to an even more amazing book! Cameron Conaway has written far more than a memoir- Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the final page- it is that affecting and well done. One would not normally relate Cage fighting and Poetry- but in the sensitive and very talented hands of Cameron Conaway- the connection is seamless- this is a very special book. The trials and tribulations Cameron Conaway endures are not documented as a typical "tell-all"- rather the words are filled with TRUE feeling and honesty- rare in so many memoirs. It is obvious that so much thought and feeling went into each aspect of this unforgetable book, and it is indeed a cold hearted person who will not be deeply affected by this honest, superbly written and YES! poetic story of a brave and intelligent man dealing with life on life's terms.

AN OFFICIAL JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB MUST READ

RICK FRIEDMAN
FOUNDER
THE JAMES MASON COMMUNITY BOOK CLUB
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By bookfiend on November 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
A wonderful memoir of how Cameron Conaway became the man he is today. The book is both inspirational and deep; pace is slow and reminiscing. It's as if it was written while the author is thinking it out. Therefore, the book isn't really organized. We'd get anecdotal notes about his childhood then jump to present-day or when he's at work. This makes it a bit difficult for me to keep on track with what's happening.

One thing I liked was how, at the end of every chapter, he would give out tips on working out. I tried some and it really does seem to work. As a "cage-fighting poet", he peppers his narrative with insightful and terse poems. This makes the book relate-able to a wider audience, whether you like martial arts or poetry.

Pro: Gripping and intense writing style, insightful and deep, unique perspective on both martial arts and English
Con: A bit hard to follow at times, slightly disorganized

I would recommend this book to adults and anyone looking for a highly introspective read. Not to our younger readers though. There are plenty of curse words and other naughty things.

Won in a giveaway in return for an honest review
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Todd Davis on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cameron Conaway is the kind of writer that inspires and instructs while telling a story that compels the reader to keep on reading. His is a postmodern Horatio Alger tale; Rocky Balboa, if Rocky went on to grad school to study poetry. In prose that is honest and, at times, raw with emotion, Conaway recounts how a kid from a broken family in central Pennsylvania remakes himself through art and physical discipline. "Caged" presents a strong and vivid narrative from a promising young writer, a book that can't help but inspire readers to live their lives more fully through a devotion to the people and things they love. Conaway is a writer to watch in the coming years!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Clifford Garstang on September 7, 2011
Format: Paperback
Cameron Conaway is a poet and was, for a time, a cage-fighting mixed-martial artist. He is also the sensitive son of an abusive father. And that triple-threat combination has resulted in this suspenseful, inspiring memoir that is partly a guide to health and nutrition and partly encouragement for all who might find solace in literature for the challenges that life presents.

Conaway's story is, in some ways, familiar. When he was a kid, his father, as Conaway portrays him, was an angry man--intolerant, often verbally and sometimes physically abusive. Divorce was inevitable, but that seemed to make things worse for Conaway, who was perpetually torn by his admiration for his father and hatred for the way his father often treated him. Despite the mistreatment, Conaway craved his father's approval, and that craving pushed him to succeed. The family situation came to a head when Conaway tried to protect his younger sister from their father's abuse; that clash ended their relationship.

How Conaway then channels his conflicted emotions is the real story here--he turns in a big way to physical training and sports. Eventually he discovers martial arts--his father's discipline--but takes it a step further. Instead of the less practical versions of the sport, he would focus on real fighting: "The art of [Brazilian Jiu Jitsu] gave me the confidence that I could not only protect myself and those close to me, but gently kick the *** out of somebody if need be." This growing confidence, not surprisingly, has implications for other aspects of his life.

In college, he discovered both academic discipline--his advice here is especially worth noting--and poetry.
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