Daniel Shapiro: Why Shld I Read YOUR Book ??

by Rauan Klassnik

shapiro

ok, Daniel, so why should we read YOUR book ???

Why should you read my book? Until recently, I might not have known, but after the death of Robin Williams, something happened: A number of people took to Facebook and Twitter, and some debated the role of popular culture in our society. One person asked, “Why are we so sad about a celebrity when there are more substantial things to worry about?” Another wrote, “I can’t believe this. I remember watching him on ‘Mork and Mindy.’ I was supposed to be in bed, but I would sneak downstairs to the console TV,” etc. Somebody reminded us to talk to someone when we’re depressed, and another chastised that person for suggesting depression could be cured via hotline.

Like my Facebook friends, my recent book of poems, How the Potato Chip Was Invented, wrestles with the concept of fame. Its audience may include people who are Continue reading

Lydia Swartz : Why Shld I Read YOUR Book ??

by Rauan Klassnik

lydia

ok, Lydia, so why should we read YOUR book ???

Reasons to read Shufflepoems, forthcoming from Minor Arcana Press. Shuffle & read them in any order:

 

It’s not a book. It’s a deck of poems. Which you shuffle, so.

 

It’s the same temperature as your flesh, unless you’re a zombie.

 

If I go back to writing about pain, you will be sorry.

 

Can you follow a recipe? Does that necessarily mean you have to?

 

You’re blocked up like a constipated rooster. Pull a card. Then write/paint/dance about it.

 

Sometimes you read sitting down. Sometimes you read standing up or lying down. Sometimes you read walking. Or in the tub. Or in a moving vehicle.

 

Have you checked out the Minor Arcana Press staff? Cuu-uuuute!

 

I know where you live, possibly. Continue reading

Russell Bennetts: Why Shld I Read YOUR Book ??

by Rauan Klassnik

strictures

ok, Russell, so why should we read YOUR book ???

You should read MY book because it’s the official (offal) sequel (squeak) to Cynthia, how spells your name?. The difference is seeding.

Cynthia was about all the feelings I didn’t feel while playing an online match of Call of Duty. I didn’t feel angry; I didn’t feel fanous; I didn’t feel frozen.

Look, for example at what Daniel Bosch has to say in praise of my groundpounding efforts:

Russell Bennetts’ lab coat is pristine. In his “Reflections on Taboo-breakng” he has constructed a totem which inscribes precisely, syllogistically, that form of wildness to which we obsessional neurotics feel we are most entitled. Bennetts knows well the savage truth that poems — even “Untitled” poems — have both titles and bodies. He knows that a title personifies that body — it’s a poem’s name — and that the use and abuse of any poem’s name may be pyscho-emotionally freighted. Bennetts knows how often we over-rationalize and abuse poems’ names in transactions that cheapen the energy which animates their bodies — that poems’ titles must be subject to the strictures of taboo.

Continue reading

Garage Sale Reads (1)

by Rauan Klassnik

the chosen
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From now on, let’s say, I’m only going to acquire my books at Garage Sales. And then I’m going to write about them. This, then, is the first in a series I’m super psyched about. And I think I’m going to use this opportunity, also, to get serious and personal. Well, kind of,….

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price bros

Okay, so a few days ago I bought Chaim Potok’s “The Chosen” at a yard sale close to my house. (Lately, on weekends, I’ve been trolling the neighborhoods because my wife collects teapots and it’s romantic to bring her home something nice. Last week I found a teapot it turns out was made in 1906. It’s worth about $20. Sometimes my wife, Edith, and I go hunting together and that, maybe, is the best).

When I asked the old man standing behind the table with just six books spread over it  how much he wanted for “The Chosen” he took a few moments and then replied, “I dunno, how about two bucks?” I quickly countered with a shrug. And then: “how about a dollar?” And the book was mine! (note: this is how “the game” works at Garage Sales. Plus, I’m Jewish. Well, I was born into a Jewish family. I still identify, culturally. Blah. Blah. It’s complicated.)

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The book is about fathers and sons. About duty. Forgiveness. Friendship. War. Inheritance. And respect. I mean I’m only about a quarter of the way into it but this is what I think it’s about. . . . And, o, yeah, it seems to be about religion and patriotism too. . . .And it’s made me think, more than usual, of my own life!

Of my childhood. Of my upbringing. Maybe this is because the narrator’s name is Reuven. My Hebrew name is Reuven too. The book (The Chosen) was published in 1967. I was born, also, in 1967, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where, several years later, I attended King David Victory Park. And there, as a matter of course, the essential importance of Judaism as well as Israel was strongly impressed upon me and the rest of the young students. Continue reading

Notes from Max Feller’s Notebooks

by Matthew Simmons

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(Pictured is the author at the Bob Feller Museum in Van Meter, Iowa, back when he was younger and thinner.)

Like many of you, I still have friends in Iowa. And like many of you, I miss them very much. I’m only human. Like many of you.

My Iowa friend Eli likes to go to estate sales. He likes to buy old furniture. Most of all, he likes things that are old and made out of wood and have drawers. He often buys the things that are old and made out of wood and have drawers without first opening the drawers to see what is in them. He’s only human. Like many of you.

Recently he bought a bureau. In the bureau he found some notebooks. Eli doesn’t like notebooks.

Or, actually, Eli likes notebooks okay. But Eli likes things that are old and made out of wood and have drawers. And Eli knows that most of all, I like notebooks. And Eli likes me. So Eli sent me some notebooks. Continue reading

YOU MUST CONTINUE AT ALL COSTS: talking with Kevin Killian about his TWEAKY VILLAGE

by Matt L. Rohrer

 

YOU MUST CONTINUE AT ALL COSTS

 

tweakyvillageinterview

 

Kevin Killian is a prolific novelist, poet, playwright, photographer, and Amazon-reviewer known as one of the original New Narrative writers. He’s also the author of the new poetry collection TWEAKY VILLAGE from WONDER, 2014. It’s a wild and ranging collection of poems/narratives that deal with the author’s response to free-market capitalism, the constraints of the English language, the repetitious nature of porn, and much more.

 

I first met Kevin whilst TAing for Dodie Bellamy’s infamous “Writing on the Body” class at San Francisco State University. Kevin Killian taught (and still does) at California College of the Arts. One day Dodie was absent and her partner, Kevin, arrived as the substitute teacher. (What a pleasant surprise!) We performed one of his plays featuring Kylie Minogue and a host of 90’s celebs, unpacked some abject bodily poems, and left with our minds forever altered. I remember Kevin engaging a student who had very conservative/fundamentalist views about sex and drugs. Kevin kindly and patiently explained that sometimes you need those kind of experiences to figure out what kind of life you want to have. Here Kevin discusses making up for lost time, neoliberalism, genre collapse, loving Arthur Russell, San Francisco’s shifting economic landscape, Santa Claus as Bill Clinton, his photo project “Tagged,” and on and on and onward.

 

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A “Conversation” with Rauan Klassnik (1)– (Huh??)

by Rauan Klassnik

 

xx ahhhh the magic of poetry

 

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This is the first of an occasional series in which other people ask me serious and stupid questions about my sex life, how much money I make, gender fluidity, etc, etc. And then I step up on to the stage to give the straight and skinny with as much panache, delicacy and hulking wisdom a human soul can muster post Henry Miller (Ha Ha Ha ha ha):

 

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This started up when I was bored and tweeted:

 

talk shit

 

****** Continue reading

Justin Marks: Why Should I Read YOUR Book ????

by Rauan Klassnik

 

justin-marks

 

ok, Justin, so why should we read YOUR book ???

 

Why should you read my book? I have no fucking clue. I don’t even know why I wrote it, except that doing so was part of a compulsion I have to make things, and the only means I have for doing that, the “talent” I have, is writing. Writing in general, poetry in particular. If it were different, I would have written a novel or a memoir or a scholarly book or something YA.

 

My book is none of those things. There is some narrative, but it’s pretty fractured, as they say. There are characters, but not the kind you really get to know. I present them from my point of view only. It’s poetry, for Chrissakes! The lyric “I.”

 

The book is about me and my life, but also other lives I wish I’d had. Or think I wish I had. It is about struggle, though is decidedly not “My Struggle.”

 

Overall, it’s pretty adult. By which I don’t mean porn, though there is a fairyou going to miss me amount of sex (not) happening in the book. It’s about trying to be a grown up and how much that fucking sucks. It’s about choosing a life and then having to actually live it (auto correct tried to change “live” to “love”). It’s about making decisions and having to live with them, which also fucking sucks.

 

It’s about broken bones. And booze.

 

Life, death, love and (un)happiness. Kids.

 

And then, by the end, it’s about realizing what a sick piece of shit you are and having to live with that. Having to figure out a way to be a better person, behave responsibly because, really, the way things are going, it’s just not going to end well.

 

Or maybe it’s not. Maybe it’s about something else entirely. I don’t know. You tell me.                         (Justin Marks, 8/2014, NYC)

 

5 Points: “Strange Tarot” by Jamalieh Haley

by Rauan Klassnik

 

strangetarot_Gray - Copy (4)

 

1) Reading and experiencing “Strange Tarot” is like spying on a tenuous and tense relationship in which one part of a self guides and chides the other. At some points, even, it feels like it incarnates you. (Most Tarot Poetry’s an exhausting exercise in ekphrasis. Yawn. That, or the Tarot Poems range so far afield that there’s nothing Tarot about them. Jamalieh Haley’s “Strange Tarot” is still very much Tarot—superficially, in titles, imagery and in the way the poems on the page are shaped like Tarot cards—but  indeed a strange, strange Tarot, benefiting and enhanced greatly from psychedelic imagery that only issues from a highly pressurized and agitated mental state.)

 

“Arrive inside your silhouette. Open the china. Do anything there.”

 

2) The critical element of Tarot is the relationship between the fortune teller and the supplicant. And, for me, in Strange Tarot the self is telling itself its own fortune. The self betrothed to itself. And this “conversation” (or fortune telling) within the self, which we are privileged to enjoy and shudder at, is rife with flaring tensions and instability, extrusions of cruelty and violence verging constantly towards, like suicide, a kind of desperate, ritualized and salvational make-up sex. Yes, the fire of consummation is what will save and consume.

 

And let me say again how lucky we are to be overhearing and looking in on this lover’s quarrel of the soul (and itself). Continue reading

Pussy Guerilla Face Banana Fuck Nut by RC Miller

by Rauan Klassnik

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Gobbet’s dangerous andexenterating Pussy Guerilla Face Banana Fuck Nut by RC Miller isnow available

Gobbet exclaims that Pussy Guerilla Face Banana Fuck Nut is all of those things. But mostly it’s a book sticky with Frederick Seidel’s wet dreams. It will burn your mouth and it will tickle the hymen you framed on your wall so it never got broke. These poems never believed in anything but the gruesomeness of the casualness of their nonbelief. These poems are shrinking pockets of mummified hope. They are what beauty becomes in the ‘Fuck You’ stare. They are the grace of dying slowly with your head in the shitter, your arse in the air, and the soul of God in your masturbator’s hand

Also, check out a beautiful and hard-prophetic poem of RC’s that’s just now gone live at Paragraphiti.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxooxoxoxoxoxox