Rauan Klassnik, Farid Matuk and Russel Swenson

What: Rauan Klassnik, Farid Matuk and Rusell Swenson
Where: Lucky Dog Books, 633 W. Davis St. (Oak Cliff)
When: Friday, January 25, 8 pm

 Rauan Klassnik‘s HOLY LAND (Black Ocean) 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”–Gary Young.Rauan grew up in South Africa and then spent most of life in Dallas, TX where he was for many years an active part of the local writing community. Rauan’s first book, Holy Land, came out from Black Ocean in 2008. His second book, The Moon’s Jaw (also from
Black Ocean) releases end of 2012. Rauan’s poems have appeared in The Mississippi Review, Front Porch, The North American Review, Poetry Midwest & other venues. Rauan is now headquartered, close to Costco, in Kirkland, WA.
Farid Matuk is the author of This Isa Nice Neighborhood (Letter Machine, 2010), which was awarded honorable mention in the 2011 Arab American Book Award, named finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award, and chosen by Geoffrey G. O’Brien for recognition in the Poetry Society of America’s New American Poets series.  New poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Iowa Review,Critical QuarterlyWhite Wall Review, and Poets.org.   Matuk is a contributor to Scubadivers and Chrysanthemums:  Essays on the Poetry of Araki Yasusada (Shearsman, 2011) and American Odysseys:  Writings by New Americans (Dalkey Archive, 2013).

“There’s something wrong with Los Angeles. In his brilliant debut Santa Ana, Russel Swensen analyzes what it means to live in a city that sets all of its awful immune system on you, that fevers itself to burn off all but the most wicked and calloused. Here the city becomes a fantastic and terrifying Lynchian nightmare in which each person is an animal desperate to devour or be photographed. A girl sings “if you put your ear to an ash tray, you can hear the sea of flame replacing me” and maybe that’s the city itself, fire licking the corners of the pages, the moments seen as though through smoke. It’s all the speaker can try to do to escape, the wind that carries the flames always finding him, finding him out. This is a phenomenal work, nerve wracking and passionate, and will leave you with all the right kinds of scars.” -Glenn Shaheen.
Russel Swensen currently teaches at Prairie View A&M University.  He earned his MFA in fiction from the California Institute of the Arts and his doctorate in poetry from the University of Houston. His work has appeared inBlack Clock, Quarterly West, Prick of the Spindle, FRiGG, The Collagist, and elsewhere.


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