Thursday, April 30, 2009

Lowell's Tongue

I like to rag on Robert Lowell. It's fashionable to do so. Like it's fashionable to wear your pants loose and low. And so I like to wear my pants. Following in dinosaur footprints.

Today I had a headache and a neckache so I read some Lowell in the bath.

Once (and if) you get past Lowell's bad bad clothes he is a pleasure. Like a strange and beautiful and very imperfect woman's very perfect tongue.

As I'm reading Lowell the voice I've memorized from Poetry Speaks kicks in and I lie back and shift into cruise control and surrender myself to that perfect tongue.

(It's strange that women, according to popular thinking, use headaches to forgo sex. A big fat orgasm solves everything. Big and fat like a dinosaur.)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That Great Brazilian Clown-- (Oaxaca Poem)

My poem Oaxaca is part of the new on-line Night Train Magazine.

It talks about, among other things, my love for that great Brazilian Clown, Paulo Coelho

Click Here to check it out

Nine Days Death

Outside the house of 9-days death a baby's pointing up at me. I am on fire.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Children's Art - The Great Cliché

Over at his blog Mathias Svalina just posted some interesting thoughts about the phrase "Emerging Writers" (accompanied by some nice pictures).

The following phrase caused me to knee-jerk.

"But actual kids write & draw the most profound art there is & only through education are they forced into the social blinders."

--- isn't this a bit of a cliché? Or a lot of a cliché?

Do 'actual kids' actually write and draw the 'most profound art'?

Screw kids! The most profound art comes from grownups who're able to shed or shred or ignore or put aside or whatever those social "binders"

(today it seems I am playing the Blake Butler Grouch)

Blake Butler-- Rabblerousing!

Blake Butler's generating some interesting discussion over at his blog by asking questions about The Cannon (itch, itch, itch)

Jesus' Son
The Things they Carried
etc etc

are brought under fire (itch, itch, itch)

If you want to chime in and stoke the fire (Butler's itching, itching, itching)
go here and here

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The First Ten Birds

For some reason I sat down on the balcony and waited till I'd seen ten different bird species.

and, so,....


---Great Kiskadee

---King Bird

---Barn Swallow

---Yellow-Winged Cacique

---Streak-backed Oriole

---Black Vulture



---Little Blue Heron (pictured above)

Some of the other birds seen from my house--->

Frequently: Cormorants, Woodpeckers, Robins, Hummingbirds, Egrets, Ibises, Kingfishers, Orange-Fronted Parakeets, Green Herons, Pelicans, etc....

Occasionaly/Rarely: Chachalacas, Squirrel-Tailed Cuckoos, Magpie Jays, Painted Buntings, etc...

and, among others, the following birds can be found in the hills nearby:
Trogons (Citreolines and Elegants), Lilac-Crowned Parrots, Military Macaws, and, one of my favorites, Motmots

Dreaming at Big Toe

[ from Dreaming— (3)]

It’s dark and I’m walking towards a car. Two men get out of it and come towards me. One of them kneels down with a syringe and a rubber strap. The other’s got his gun in my chest. It’s not often you remember a dream when you’re inside another one. You were held down, naked—and you were begging me.

this "Dreaming" poem and a few others are now up at Big Toe Review.

"Dreaming," my chapbook, comes out this summer from Scantily Clad Press.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Pointers on Masturbation, etc---- An Interview

Just did a quick, fun and (hopefully) funny interview with Ryan Manning.

Here's an excerpt:

---Ryan Manning: did either of your parents ever talk to you about sex when you were growing up?

---Rauan Klassnik (Me): My mother bought me a Playboy and gave me pointers on masturbation. It was like she was describing how to put on a gas mask in WWI and then, suddenly, she was talking about the dying horses. It was agony. I had to pee.

The full interview's over at Thunk along with lots of other fun and funny interviews: people I know like Blake Butler, Brian Foley, Zach Schomburg, Andrew Lundwall, and other like Sam Pink, Ken Baumann, Ani Smith, etc, etc....

Friday, April 24, 2009

Working Out--- And Screaming Like You're Being Fucked Up Against a Wall, Through the Wall, and into Fucking Oblivion.......

I've been working out twice a week. That's a lot for me. A lot more than fucking nothing. And working out pretty hard I think.

I ride the bike for half an hour and then I lift weights for an hour.

When I've been riding the bike for a while and my heart's been clicking away at 140-150 (I'm so proud of this. How pathetic! I am such a loser!---this is my Sam Pink thing) and the endorphins are flooding my pathetic little brain, I imagine a bird releasing from my heart, out through my chest, and flying out over the gym savannah (and no, I don't start singing Erasure's Blue Savannah Song) and I am the bird, flapping, flapping, flapping.

Well, anyways, today the gym's biggest loser gym-rat chick comes over to use the machine in front of "my" bike. She's the type who's always looking at herself in the mirror. Between sets, during sets, whenever. She works out 3-4 hours every day. At least. And she's in great shape and she wears very little clothing and she is a birdbrain. (what does that say about me flying over the savannah? That's beside the point).

And she is ugly. And she must be on medication. And I don't know why she hasn't been thrown out permanently because there've been thousands of complaints filed against her and today she is screaming. Really screaming. I've got my Ipod on and the volume's on maximum but I can hear her loud and clear and she is screaming. Really screaming.

Not a weightlifter's grunt. She's screaming like she's getting fucked. I mean really fucked. Driven-into-a-wall fucked. And this happens over and over again each time she brings the weights down like a gigantic cock driving up into the center of her pathetic birdbrained body.

And between sets, now, she is standing up, now, right in front of me, legs spread apart and she is cupping her breasts and she is staring right at me. (there's a mirror behind me). And this goes on forever.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Vagina Monologue

Light flows up my river and my dogs stand on the balcony and shout down at dogs in the river. The church tower's basking in light. Birds are rejoicing. The hill, and all its palm trees and clothes hanging in no-wind now, is filled with light. When I first began reading Henry Miller (I keep thinking Henry S. Miller) I kept seeing this town as a man sprawled out on his back---and the church tower pointing straight up his penis. There are so many ways to paint a penis. And there are so many ways to say Vagina. I am prowling back and forth in this gold-river-light, lifting my leg, muttering "Vagina, Vagina, Vagina." A woman's taking the clothes down now. Robins fly up out of the river. Sometimes they smash into windows. My parrots are cat-calling. The light's deepening. And deepening. Soon it will die. Joyelle McSweeney's mother's a librarian and she says Nabokov sure "writes up a storm."

Seth Abramson Fantasizing about Ron Silliman

Seth Abramson's just posted "Audience" up on his blog.

He begins the post with a NB:

"Eschewing literary theory and taxonomies, for now, in favor of ruminations on the act of writing"

And then after fleshing out his ideas (read the blog post if you're interested), Seth starts imagining (fantasizing, really) how Ron Silliman will characterize the post. How Ron Silliman will label it when Ron (all of this in Seth's fantasy) links to it on his blog. And then, caught up in fantasy, Seth challenges the Imaginary Ron: "But why not just the truth."

Fascinating. I wonder if Seth dreams about Ron too.

Here's the NB that ends Seth's post.

[NB: I am always amused to think about which pithy, inaccurate, reductionist, and essentially nutrient-free headline Ron will give a posts of mine should he ever link to it. For this one I'm thinking, "How Quietists See Audience," or "The Quietist Obsession With Audience," or "Quietists on Who Should Write Poetry," or "Quietist Theory Disguised As Personal Process." Selectively treating a single phrase/statement (out of context) as representative is also popular. But why not just the truth? Like "Seth Abramson on Audience"?].

Such a beautiful and scintillating chess game!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Radio Interview Podcast (Holy Land, etc)

An interview I did with Shelagh Shapiro a few weeks back aired on 105.9FM in Burlington VT this afternoon. Shelagh's show is called Write the Book.

In case anyone's interested in listening the Podcast's available here

But, I must warn you: I mumble a lot and I ramble. Really ramble. After listening to this Podcast I went up to my wife, put my hands on her shoulders, looked her in the eye and said "I can't believe you married me."

That being said Shelagh has a beautiful voice, enunciates perfectly, and masks any what-the-fuck thoughts she might have had really well.

Shelagh asked some really good questions and now and then I might have had something insightful to say.

And, I read a few poems as well. A couple from Holy Land and a couple from Ringing

Excuses: I did the phone interview with Shelagh a few hours before heading to the airport. So, I was stressed out. I was also suffering from sinus headaches which plagued me for weeks. I could, like Madonna, go on and on. I could, like Madonna, fall off a horse right now... ouch!

The Front Cover of Today's Newspaper (Bestial Asesinato)

And the Back Cover

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Tombstoine and Stats: The Living and The Dead

Over at his popular blog, Ron "The Big Man" Silliman continues to put up tombstones for dead poets.

Silliman's Blog's like a newspaper now: event listings, directories, death notices. How about birth notices? Each time a poet is "born" Ron should post up a blue or pink fountain pen. Or something like that.

Meanwhile, Ron continues his fascinating poet-census dialogue with Seth Abramson:

All of these I take as signs just how large the literary community has become. In a city of 50,000 (to use Seth Abramson’s figure for the number of poets publishing in English), one would anticipate 12 deaths on an average week, even if everyone lived to be 80, which not one of these four did. Of course, neither Sedgwick nor Meschonnic would be included in a strict counting of Sedgwick’s census. And most poets don’t begin publishing until they are 20 (David Shapiro & I were precocious), so that 50,000 figure really has to be amortized out over 60 years even if we all make it to 80 – actuarially, you would expect 16 such deaths a week.

This leads me to think (once again) that Abramson’s number is too high, though his underlying point is well taken. And one could respond that my calculations in the paragraph above presume a relatively even age distribution of the 50,000, which I think Abramson & I would both agree there is not. At least half of the 50,000 are under 35, possibly much more than that.

Like watching two Chess Grandmasters playing through the mail. Snail mail.

Maximum Gaga Video (Trailer)

To see Josef Horáček's interesting "trailer" video for Lara Glenum's Maximum Gaga go here:

An interview with Lara re Maximum Gaga will appear on this blog some time sooner or later.

The Budgie Poet

A few weeks ago a young, hungry budgie flew into our house, attracted (I think) by the sounds of our birds.

The budgie's too young to sex so we haven't bought it a partner yet. But he or she is very happy---hopping around, eating well, chirping quite nicely, etc, etc.

Mostly, though, our new bird's infatuated with the mirror we placed in its cage. (Almost all budgies fall in love with their reflections.)

For hours, literally, our little budgie sits by the mirror, chirping to its reflection, cuddling up against it, and sometimes even trying to feed it.

The other day, eating breakfast and studying our new bird, Max Jacob's famous prose poem about Apollinaire came to mind. The one in which he imagines Apollinaire with a bird's head. Or a bird with Apollinaire's head.

I thought also of an Ursula K. LeGuin story (?) where the narrator describes Emperor Penguins sitting in the brutal cold, wind and snow. Imagine the poetry, these penguin-poets would write, the narrator wonders. Indeed.

And what incredible poetry the budgie-poets would write! The budgie-poets tirelessly in love with themselves. Preening in front of the mirror for hours. Chirping and chirping. Happily chirping all day long.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

American Poet Portraits

Didi Menendez is a poet, editor and artist. She's done portraits of many contemporary poets. You can find them here.

The portrait above is of Andrew Demcak.

Here's the information Andrew has at Goodreads:

Andrew Demcak is an award-winning poet whose poetry has been widely published and anthologized both in print and on-line, and whose books have been featured at The Best American Poetry and Oranges & Sardines. His latest book, Zero Summer, was published by BlazeVOX [Books], NY, 2009. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Lambda Award, Thom Gunn Poetry Award, both the California and Northern California Book Awards, Best of the Web, and others. He has an M. F. A. in English/Creative Writing from St. Mary's College in Moraga, CA , where he studied with Robert Hass, Brenda Hillman, Michael Palmer, Carol Snow, Frank Bidart, Gary Snyder, Charles Wright, and Sharon Olds. Andrew is also a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, where he studied with Galway Kinnell, Richard Howard, and Lucille Clifton. His poems, including Young Man With iPod (Poetry Midwest, #13), are taught at Ohio State University as part of both its English 110.02 class, "The Genius and the Madman," and in its "American Poetry Since 1945" class. At the age of 23, Andrew published his first chapbook, The Psalms (Big 23 Press), which was favorably reviewed by Dr. Clifton Snider in the Small Press Review (issue 226, vol. 23, no. 11.) When he is not hard at work as a Children's Librarian for Oakland Public Library, he can be found eating okonomiyaki at Japantown in San Francisco. Viva Wallace Stevens! Visit Andrew at:

Additionally, Goodreads lists 4 works by Andrew Demcak:

Zero Summer (2009)
Pink Narcissus (2009)
672 Hours (2008)
Catching Tigers in Red Weather (2007)

The Wrestler -- Life is Not Fair

I enjoyed the Wrestler very much. On the way over there I put Leonard's Cohen "The Future" on. Rebecca Loudon talked about this song on her blog a while back so I bought it. This is a great religious song. A few moments later Cohen croaks out "Give me crack and anal sex" and my wife, Edith, gives me a bad look (It's her first time with "The Future" which Cohen, "the little Jew who wrote the bible," says he's seen---and it's "murder."). O, well.

Marisa Tomei's naked in the Wrestler. Naked a lot. And good naked. Forty four year old Marisa sure looks good. Damned good. But this isn't why I really liked The Wrestler.

(Aside: here's a link to Marisa Tomei on Chickipedia. According to its description Chickipedia is the world’s largest web-based, women-based, wiki-based database of hot chicks on the planet. It is entirely user generated, making it the first female-only encyclopedia of the people, by the people, and for the people. Chickipedia is not your grandpa’s encyclopedia.)

But, again, I'm not here to talk about hot chicks. Or the movie's weaknesses (cliché characters, etc.). This movie really worked for me. Especially the ending.

This is a movie where everything sets up perfectly for a Good Old Happy Ending but the filmmakers don't give to you. They don't even give you a real Tragic Ending: dead body in the ring getting smaller and smaller as the camera rises up into the rafters to some pathetic music of foreign women wailing. No God on his cross. No real rising.

This is not to say that The Wrestler doesn't leave the viewer without hope. It does. In its black-and-white easy-symbol-play it does.

So, we left the Wrestler pretty satisfied and drove on home (No Leonard Cohen, though).

But then my world just fell apart.

Looking for "Wrestler" info and pictures online I found out that Mickey Rourke wasn't the first choice for the lead. Nicolas Cage was supposedly in talks that broke down.

God damn it! (I feel like King Lear out in the rain). Life is just not fair.

The Wrestler's a wonderful movie. But, damnit, I want to see the Nicolas Cage version too. That's a movie I have to see. That is the movie I can barely live without.

It's Springtime, damnit, and I want my cake and eat it too, damnit. Razor blades are fluttering inside me.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring! Spring! Spring! ....Chaucer...Pitluk....Eliot

Here's Chaucer:

Whan that aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of march hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour;
Whan zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
Tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye

Here's Pitluk:
(click here for full text)

So standing on this windswept lawn at Chrysler Park in Oelwein, and then standing on the banks of the Mississippi River later this spring day in Dubuque, conjures the spirit of a bygone era and of a determined ancestry traversing these undulating prairies and untrammeled landscapes. The senses are heightened, and when the wind catches the grass just right, the ensuing aroma can be described only as green. It is spring in Iowa, to be sure.

Springtime and the cerebral, literary rebirth is a fine time to reassess where we are as a civilization. Earth Day, on April 22, is the international bugle call to start treating the environment better, and certain sectors of society are already in the process of tailoring their commerce and plying their trade with shades of green in mind.

Here's Eliot:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.


and here's a picture of two rabbits fucking

Man leaves the U.S. --- Rapes his sister.

Twenty Eight year old man returns to Mexico and rapes his 14 year old sister.

He invites her down to the river to fish with him a bit. He asks her to have sex with him. She refuses. He rapes her. But he doesn't cum inside her. "Eyaculando fuera de ella" (ejaculating outside of her).

He tells her that if she tells anyone he'll kill Mom and Dad. (He's already beaten them up a few times.)

Fifteen days later he takes her down to the river again and rapes her repeatedly.

Bits of Brian Foley's "Black Eye" shack up over at No Tell

Poems from Brian Foley's manuscript The Black Eye are featured this week at No Tell Motel

Here are some sections that struck me:

"your inside voice
assembled in hermeneutic smoke
brewed in cauldrons of steamships."


"I push like an unborn
from the inside until we both are outside, born again in boiling water
And weeping for our mothers."

If, like me, you like middle-career Charles Simic (when he was hungry and glinting) then I think you'll like these No Tell Foley poems, though the quotes above aren't so Simicy.

Poems and Theories

Over at his blog, The Suburban Ecstacies, Seth Abramson takes to heart and to pen the following quote someone pointed him to:

Seth Abramson: as a theorist he can go fuck himself, but as a poet--fuck, he’s good.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

With Deer's Inhumanity

There's a very interesting review of Aase Berg's "With Deer" (tr. Johannes Goransson) on Coldfront.

The reviewer claims that Berg is "channeling a voice that is not quite human" and in so doing exposes us as "intellectual animals," while generating in us "something ancient about the human intellect."

For me this is why With Deer is so attractive. The voice of the poems is scarcely human. It is animal. It is creature. But the poetry's completely under control. So, you have this rare and strange combination of Art that is very controlled (masterful and in this respect uniquely "human") while at the same time wild and dangerous-- filled with the shadows and lights of keen animal "consciousness.

A kind of wild-child. Or an insane person. Someone always on edge. Always on the edge.

Reading With Deer I get the feeling that the voice/force of the poem could at any point just cut my head off. Gut me. But just as much I have the feeling that the voice could harm itself. That I'm always about to walk in on a suicide: A pale body in a pale bathtub in a pale room (or in the middle of a field strewn through with flowers and/or bodies.)

I admire and sometimes delight in the artistic personality of With Deer (the strange language, images, constructions, juxtapositions) but I relish being in the presence of such a dangerous life-force personality (or "animality" or "creature-ality.")

It's rare for these two things to come together. An artist completely in control of a voice that's so high-strung, that's so completely in its own nerves and blood-- about to kill or self-kill at any moment.

The voice, feel and "personality" of Sylvia Plath's artistically accomplished poetry is the only comparison that comes right now to mind.

This sort of poetry, for all its greatness, isn't for everyone. Most people, instead, want this from their poets:

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Toad-Green Jewish Fear of Plane-Water

A toad-green's coughing (feminine) and I normally wouldn't give a damn but my stomach kept me up most of the night, shaking, fists clenched, and the cold early-morning yellows have me really on edge. The Continental girls are rolling their carry-ons ahead of me and they are so confident and healthy and I find out my flight's to Love Field and so I'm going to have to take a shuttle over to DFW and I suppose this is what happens when you write so buoyantly about Love Birds splashing and preening in the great glorious sun inside you.

There should be some law against airport and hotel gouging. They piss in your mouth-- and I just take it, smiling.

The captain's expecting some turbulence, we are told. Apollinaire was desperate, dying. There are so many things I still want to say, he moaned.

When I was 12, I swam the backstroke for the "B" team at King David Victory Park. This God inside me's cold and green.

The plane in the Hudson looked like an Orca half submerged (like the ones you see surfing in to kill baby seals.) The people on its wings like birds. I'm thinking of a Cockatoo without any feathers. She gets very cold and she cuddles into her caretaker.

I'm studying the old lady next to me. (she's barefoot). The fat man with a "majestic" jacket. And the air hostess with 3 poor chins. I wonder what they'd look like drowned?

My leg's sore, blah, blah. My head's sore, blah, blah. But I am ready, as always, to turn into God. To die for all of us. Yeah, right.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Why I'm Married: Chicago Color

I'm sitting on Chicago runway tarmac. Planes taking off up over me draw my body again and again into a crucifix. The dark body of her voice is lowering down on to me. And she's peeing on me. John Fogerty's singing "and still the rain kept falling." My hands are in the shape of a pigeon's skull. Janet Holmes says a guy read for over an hour in Boise. Adam Clay says that's no big deal. Two hours forty minutes, he says. Yes, he heard some guy read for nearly three hours. My soul's flapping out of me and I'm hitchhiking through Bolivia and Spanish's pouring out of me like sweat.

(sure beats a cage in Oklahoma)

We're marching into a city. Parthenon West perhaps. Thousands of us. Suddenly we fall to the ground and kiss it. Windows are shattering.

Pigeon-racers take their pigeons out into the country in wicker baskets--- and open them into cold white wind and hawks. Most come home, their necks shimmering green and purple. (I want to touch a big fat bald man's head).

I don't mind flying but one time I was on a small plane and it was turbulent and I freaked out and wrote on a napkin:

Edith, I love you. Rauan.

South Bend--Cocaine on Penis--Kalamazoo

Have finished up my two-reading tour and am now back in the Love Bird motel.

Thursday night I read at a grad student's apartment in South Bend. Thanks Tasha for having us. And thanks Johannes for setting it up.

It was a great reading. I really enjoyed hearing Goransson read, again, and Joyelle for the first time. and Joe Hall for the first time also. Joe was a bit nervous and this made his reading really edgey. It was good.

Afterwards we sat and chatted with students and assistants. Glancing over at the bookshelf I noticed "Europeana" sticking out. (I bought this book recently because Blake Butler wrote it up and up on his blog. It's quite a book. Turns out one of the Notre Dame faculty has assigned it. Lucky students.)

Anyways, it ended up in Joe Hall's hands. "Open it up and start reading," I said, "Anywhere at all." (I said this because this is what someone told Blake Butler to do with it at AWP when he was considering buying it.)

So Joe start reading about the 70's in America and soon he was onto a bit about where men rubbed cocaine on to their penises to prolong intercourse. That was no lucky hit, though. Every page of Europeana is filled with Gems.

Read last night at the Book Arts Center in Kalamazoo (With Carrie Olivia Adams and Janet Holmes). It went well. Everyone very warm, welcoming. And picked up a copy of a beautiful broadside made for the occasion that has poems by the three of us on it.

And now back in Love Bird Motel licking my wings.

Peach-Faced Love Birds

My hotel room key's got three yellow peach-faced Love Birds on it. This is a sign. A sign the sun is shining in me. My room here is filled with light. And soft white sheets. The breakfast eggs were beautifully disgusting. The honeydew melon pieces nearly frozen through. But they thawed quickly in the sun inside me.

I am going to whistle all day long. I am going to splash in the water. I'm going to sit in the sunlight. My sunlight. And preen all day long. All day long.

And when night comes and sleep comes I will not be sleeping. I will be whistling in the light of my sun. Blah, blah, blah-- damn, it's so beautifully damned blah being a Love Bird, whistling, preening, splashing. I highly recommend it.

Friday, April 10, 2009

South Bend to Chicago-- A sun-like poem

Here are the highlights of my train ride from South Bend to Chicago this afternoon:





5-- I scribbled down the first draft of a poem that for now I believe is going to be the center poem radiating through my 2nd collection. (a sunlike poem lighting both ways out of the center, through the entire book, while, at the same time, like a black hole, the universe's end-cunt, sucking everthing into its greedy dark and nothing center.) This is good news, if it pans out. (and not so bad if it doesn't). Several times since Holy Land I've sat down and tried to get a 2nd full-length manuscript into play. And each time it's miscarried. Not enough water and light. No real passion, juice, semen, blood, whatever. But, today, on this God-forsaken train ride (I could type the word Bleak about 7 thousand times here and that wouldn't come close) I was making my own God (more like Goddess really) and I was believing. I'm a bit sceptical now. But, it's good to believe. And so I keep spinning that sun inside me. And I am spinning too. Drawing in light all of it. Hoarding it. And erupting it all, finally. Horribly. And maybe. Maybe.





Monday, April 6, 2009

"Notre Dame" reading--- more info.... (Goransson, McSweeney, and Joe Hall)

ok, Johannes just forwarded me specifics about the reading this Thursday
in South Bend

"I'd like to invite you all to my apartment to hear poet Rauan Klassnik
give a reading this Thursday at 7:30 pm. Smoke signals and semaphores
suggest that our very own Joyelle McSweeney and Johannes Goransson
will also be reading some of their work.
I live at 330 West Colfax Ave, Apartment #xxx in downtown South Bend,
in the vocational tech part of a renovated high school. Call when
you're in the parking lot (xxx-xxx-xxxx). There's also an entrance on
Williams Street on the west side of the building--ring buzzer #xxx.
Your synapses will fire! Invite other interested parties, and feel
free to bring drinkables or edibles.

And the latest news is that Joe Hall (book forthcoming from Black Ocean) will also be reading.....

If you're interested in coming please drop me a note through Facebook (Rauan Klassnik) and I'll send you the apt and tel numbers.

Coming Soon-- The Book of Frank

Coming soon to this blog, an interview with CA Conrad re his The Book of Frank which is filled with beautiful and well-wrought poems.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Readings this week (Kalamazoo and South Bend)

This week I'll be reading at:

1)South Bend, Indiana
Thursday, April 9th
will be reading with Johannes Goransson.
Notre Dame--unofficial. contact me for details if interested

2) Kalamazoo, Michigan
Saturday, April 11th
Reading with Carrie Olivia Adams and Janet Holmes.
More Info

Christian Peet- Ringing (Crayons and Handwriting)

Over at his blog Christian Peet says a bunch of nice things about how Ringing looks and works.

To see what Christian has to say go here

Christian ends his post with

"Note: This award recognizes excellence in interface design. For a discussion of the merits of Rauan Klassnik's texts, art, or handwriting, please start your own."

------>>As the Dutch say "I have delicious handwriting." (ha ha)

On a related note, Christian's new book Big American Trip is available now.

Here's the description at SPD:

"Poetry. Assuming the form of postcards authored by an "alien" of unknown nationality, ethnicity, and gender, addressing a variety of people and organizations (political figures, multinational corporations, people in public toilets, et al), BIG AMERICAN TRIP is a startling document of fear and loneliness in the 21st century U.S. Whether deconstructing road signs, a failed relationship, or the state of contemporary poetry, the voice behind these texts is at once familiar and strange, determined to be free, and desperate to communicate with anyone who has ever felt at odds with the Language of a Nation. Christian Peet is the author of THE NINES and the publisher of Tarpaulin Sky Press."


I like crayons but I think I'm pulling a Rimbaud on them.

I have no idea what Christian's handwriting is. But, I'm guessing it is not "delicious" !!!

Dreamable Ron Silliman-- So So Dreamable

Tim Peterson (who hosted Silliman and Bartlett last night):

"Among the notable occurrences at the event was the fact that Ron sat down on the edge of the stage in front of me while I was introducing him, and when I remarked how weird this was, he pushed things further by reclining in a sultry, odalisque-like posture across the front of the stage, looking back at me, and held that pose for the rest of the intro. It was bizarre and kind of sweet at the same time, you know, unheimlich, etc etc."

I am turning into goosebumps
I am filled with rushes of "sultry" blood
I am odalisque
I am sultanic

And, now, now, now, I'm going to take a sultry and sultany nap and dream and dream and dream I'm enjoying a Harem-Scarem of Ron Sillimans. Enjoying and enjoying and enjoying.

(Hands off, Tim Peterson)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Maximum Gaga: Juliet Cook's review, and some discussion

There's a really good review of Lara Glenum's "Maximum Gaga" by Juliet Cook at Gently Read. To read it click here.

It's a positive review, all in all, and I enjoyed it very much.

Juliet writes that she thought "that the innards of MAXIMUM GAGA were strong and provocative" but sometimes she thinks some of the devices and framing are "gimmicky" and that the work, though it works most of the time, is sometimes "looser, sloppier, and slapdashier."

But Juliet's criticisms are not predatory or mean-spirited and it's obvious that she put a lot of thought and time into her review.

Johannes Goransson has responded, in part, on his blog. Here and here.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Inferior Dogs and Doves: Scheduling Readings

Like many things in the poetry "world" (or poetry "business") scheduling readings can be tough.

Here's the meat of an email I just received:

"Thanks for your query about a possible reading at the University of XXXXXXX Poetry Center. Our series is currated by a committee of people and scheduled out two years in advance. I'm happy to keep your CV and query email on file for those committee members who may be attentive to those writers interested in coming here for a reading."

note: as you can see the author of this note misspelled "curate,"
adding an extra "r"

So, (with lots of time on my hands) I decided to consult Merriam-Webster online

the word "Curr"-- "to make a murmuring sound (as of doves)"

the word "Cur"-- " 1 : a mongrel or inferior dog"
" 2 : a surly or cowardly fellow"

Kinda funny. I guess.

Speaking of Romance, Wild West, etc: Killed in a Cantina (PV)

Killed in a Cantina

Don't I live (as Adam Pitluk does) in such a Romantic Town!

To be honest, though, where we live (downtown Puerto Vallarta) it feels very safe. Though there are more drug killings in the suburbs.

Dallas, Texas -- Romantic Town?

In life you can't count on too many things, but you can count on Adam Pitluk.

Adam's latest brilliant offering is now available at AmericanWay:
his newest editor's note, entitled "Lone Star Long Haul."

Here Adam talks about moving to Big D, Dallas, Texas.

"We were excited about the prospect of relocating to Dallas, a city that intrigued us, thanks to the TV show of the same name."

Can you believe it?-- this is exactly what my family and I thought when we moved from South Africa to Dallas in 1980!

Adam was, though, a little concerned about "a city more defined by shopping and nightlife rather than by mountains and an ocean" but, but, but, "Dallas did have the Cowboys, and any city that Roger Staubach called home was good enough for us."

This is getting downright eerie. My dad said exactly the same thing when we were grumbling on the boat over.

Now, years later, Adam's really happy and all settled in and he's "not trying to wax poetic, but there’s something romantic about living in a Texas town."


Yes ma'am, when I think of "Romance" I think of flowers and champagne and sweet kisses, etc, etc, but I also think of Knights in Shining Armor and Cowboys with beautiful hats.

And for me Adam Pitluk is "Romance."

A real prose gunslinger.

A Knight-King spilling his heroic wax-words all over his kingdom.

Like I said you can't rely on many things. But you can rely on Adam Pitluk.

Adam Pitluk spurring his silver tongue into my soul and heart.

O, Adam!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

All the Messiah poems at Sub-Lit

Four of my "All the Messiahs" poems are in the new issue of Sub-Lit.

It's nice to see that other poets I've met recently (Donald Dunbar and Tyler Flynn Dorholt) and not-quite-so recently (Brian Foley) are also featured here.

"All the Messiahs" is a sequence of about 18 poems I wrote while in Vienna, Rome and Sicily this past January. I lived with these poems for weeks and didn't use other notes to supplement, augment, distort, blah, blah. No Ipod. It felt good. And I like the poems. To read them go here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Aase Berg-- With Deer

At his blog In Search of Duende Phil Hopkins look closely at "Still," the first poem in Johannes Goransson's translation of Aase Berg's "With Deer."

Overall Phil's first impressions of "With Deer" is that as a whole it's "powerfully original and cohesive" (and, for whatever it's worth, I agree)

Then Phil gives a casual but insightful reading of "Still."

Here's the full text of this poem

His fingers search the bottom of the tarn for the water lily's black vein. Still the love beast breathes. Still he suckles the fox sore on my weak wrist. In the distance the wind is slowly dying: the night of nights is coming. But still the fetus lily rests untouched. And still his fingers search the bottom of the tarn for the water lily's black vein.

And here's an excerpt from Phil's notes:

"Then the wind is slowly dying - an unfortunate cliche here. But I think writers are not supposed to care about the occasional lazy phrase anymore. Doesn't make sense to me, especially in a short poem. The night of nights is coming; this line sets the tone for the book. What she's created here is an atmosphere of the wounded, the half-healing, the natural world taking over and yet falling apart."

Aase Berg would, though, advocate going further than "occasional lazy phrase."
(Or at least she would have.)

Here are Aase's own words:

"I hope for poetic expressions that are aggressive, baroque and esoteric; I prefer ridiculous and embarrassing to perfection."

from "It's Not Acceptable To Be A Fatso" (first published in the journal 90Tal, number 3, 1999)

To read all of Phil's blog post on this go here

New Lamination Colony

The new Lamination Colony's available. And this is what Blake Butler has to say about it:

"Lamination Colony: Michael Kimball issue
The new issue of LAMINATION COLONY, guest edited by the magical Michael Kimball, is now live, featuring the largest update of new work we've ever presented.

Michael really outdid himself, collecting fiction, poetry, artwork, and other apocrypha from:

Krammer Abrahams
Blaster Al Ackerman
Stephanie Barber
Lauren Becker
Michael Bible
Darcelle Bleau
Robert Bradley
Kim Chinquee
Luca Dipierro
Shatera Davenport
M.T. Fallon
Jamie Gaughran-Perez
Adam Good
Jac Jemc
Jason Jones
Shane Jones
Aby Kaupang
Stacie Leatherman
Karen Lillis
Aimee Lynne-Hirschowitz
Josh Maday
Conor Madigan
Jen Michalski
Ben Mirov
Gena Mohwish
Catherine Moran
Amanda Raczkowski
Cooper Renner
Adam Robinson
Matthew Salesses
Jordan Sanderson
Justin Sirois
Robert Swartwood
JA Tyler
ds white
Rupert Wondolowski
Whitney Woolf
Joseph Young

It's a massive issue, with a lot of new and interesting words. Give it a looksee.

Best stick with Firefox or Safari, as other browsers might eat it alive.

If you are still using IE, you probably can't read anyway.


Those who read the issue and comment on this thread about something about it will be put into a drawing for a free copy of the 001 issue of NO COLONY. If you already have 001 and win, I will send you a book or something.

Please check it out and share it up."