by Rauan Klassnik
Paperback / 86p. / Poetry / $12.95
Rauan Klassnik’s short, terse prose poems explode like pipe-bombs on every page of this debut. These violent and beautiful outbursts leave the reader staggering—wandering through the fragments of a brutal world that we can't turn away from or deny; instead we are implicated by it. Again and again these poems forcefully drive home a direct, unflinching, uncensored vision. Klassnik is able to love and hate at the same time—to cry and to sing—as his poems struggle toward redemption while slogging through blood.
Praise for Holy Land:
“In both its tender and horrifying moments, Holy Land aptly maps how we are chained to time, place, ourselves, and one another by a million minor assaults--only some of which are physical. As a wide-ranging, metaphoric look at death, power, gendered bodies, sublimity, despair, and anguish, Holy Land succeeds even as it terrifies and, yes, turns the stomach. A remarkable achievement, and one which deserves to be (and must be) read in its entirety.”
“Rauan Klassnik’s Holy Land is not a book for the faint of heart. His poems—dreamlike fables that conflate the domestic and quotidian with the dangerous and the perverse—are bathed in tears and blood: a trip to the bank becomes a journey to Auschwitz; bullets and gore find equivalence in rivers, birds and lush grass. In Klassnik’s startling vision, ‘the world knows what you want, and it knows what you need. It brings you bodies. And it brings you a gun.’”
“These poems might have been written by a Catullus with a serious Ecstasy addiction, or by some genetic cross-wiring of Henry Miller and Jean Follain. Ferocious in his humor and anguished intelligence and bad attitudes, Klassnik means everything he says. The wild existence of these poems is a strange, precarious pleasure.”
“Holy Land is a primer stolen from a surreal primary school. These hypnotic prose poems are stark anatomies of stark anatomies. Imperatives that rape reverie. Instead of introducing us to new words, they make the old words new again. They might have been ripped from the dream journals of Dick and Jane. Tongues are retooled. Ears calibrated. Eyes pried open. Even the periods sing. Read in earnest and for the first time.”