Ron Klassnik


I write almost all of my poems in prose. Some people find the restrictions of form, or merely the fact and presence of the line-break in free verse poetry, liberating and a stimulus to discovery. For me it’s the opposite. In prose poems I’ve been able to forge a broader voice. Been able to take on more. I was hopeless with forms and free verse reduced me to a kind of limited dust. And so here I am: perhaps now a little more than dust.




[from Wounded Soldier (1)]

There’s a child in a ditch by the side of the road. She’s the source of every drop of blood. Shadows, knives, machetes, angels sharpening the horns of beasts you’ll never see. Over the long, dazzling fields they come: one small piece of time, chained to the next, howling and deep. They stomp and they spit. You belong to them.


[from Wounded Soldier (3)]

While he stares off into nowhere, a nurse with eyes like a pig strokes his amputated feet. The sun’s high. A tiny cactus flowering on the window sill.


[from Wounded Soldier (7)]

We came out of the water slowly, our flags waving, and my son took a bullet in his chest. He was chasing a colored moth. He’s standing next to my bed now and I tell him tomorrow. Tomorrow we’re going to wrestle in the tall grass and laugh: a stream on its way to the sea where we’ve all gathered to wash. The room’s filled with mangrove roots and a few fish strangled in. His feet are covered in blood.



435569-1182461-thumbnail.jpgRon Klassnik was born in the deep south. So deep it took him nearly thirty years to crawl out and another 5 or 6 to wash off. He still sometimes cleans under his fingernails just to make sure. His poems have recently been published (or are forthcoming) in The Mississippi Review, Caesura, Sentence, Front Porch, MiPoesias, No Tell Motel, Sleepingfish, and others. “Wounded Soldier” is the first section of his debut book of prose poetry, Holy Land, which is due to be released by Black Ocean Press in early 2008.