Dear Ra by Johannes Göransson

ISBN: 978-1-937865-63-4
98 pages
Release Date: March 11, 2016
Civil Coping Mechanisms

Buy from Amazon
Buy from Barnes & Noble

Publicity Interest
Teaching Guide

Back in print in a newly revised and expanded edition, Dear Ra is an exhibition of an inimitable literary talent. The text therein is an assemblage of letters reminiscent of that daunting and delicate space where prose and poetry collide. Göransson’s cult-hit may in fact be a the sort of literary spell conjured from the ether to be as much your demise as your greatest dream. There are few genocides as important as the ones that reside in the human imagination.

“I want to star in the After School Special, edited for prisoners, projected onto the tower of mandibles that is Dear Ra. Its machinic digestive system can’t help but gnaw at the chic fabric of celebrity’s dresses, presidents’ hair-dos, and board-approved history textbooks, and spew out the meat gristles of pop culture ghosts, engorged national disasters, and stillborns in the freezer into the playpen. As badly as I want to be unknowingly fed horse tranquilizers and swoon into the arms of the so-called-villain of this book, I can see that he and I are both locked up in the garage of America, and we are all home-grown terrorist in the greenhouse, we are the new wussification of America the evening news keeps warning about. I want to be rocking back and forth mumbling ‘I am not afraid” in a foreign language, but there won’t be subtitles. I am jealous of all the absent addressees of these letters, and I want to hijack these poems like the airplanes that we are not supposed to talk about without putting on a serious face. What I am saying is this: I am filled with misdirected desires coming from incorrectly deciphering this lucifer’s instructions on how to assimilate, and now the mothers of America should be worried.”
–Ji yoon Lee, author of Foreigner’s Folly


“In Dear Ra, we are told, among many other things, that ‘narrative equals death.’ If that is so, then Johannes Göransson’s 21st-century epistolary novel is very much alive, as it bobs and weaves through the mundane details and arcane allusions of our culture, filled with feints and jabs in all directions, warding off the threat of premature closure. Dear Ra is sharp, funny, morbid, and deliriously (re)readable.”
–Steven Shaviro, author of The Cinematic Body and Connected


“Love letters. Love poetry. Like this: ‘You know how I love it when you don’t make sense. But most of all I love the way you whimper when your pants are down. So much for Petrarch,’ the Italian poet praising his Laura in sonnets. Johannes Göransson’s letters to an ex-lover Ra — as well as the letters in this book to the radiator, history, Susan Sontag, America, poetry itself–come from a poet whose ‘heart [and poetics] belongs to a drive-by shooting.’ Reading them is to be invited into the theater of utterly mixed metaphors where nothing follows; which is to say, a theater of memory where everything can follow: an amazing high-wire act of body and soul, language and thought where ‘even the circus gets eaten alive.'”
–Steve Tomasula, author of Vas and The Book of Portraiture


“Solarity’s always about empire, sort of. Johannes Göransson’s delerious letters to the Egyptian sun God are definitely in America, somewhere between Frank O’Hara’s Mayakovsky and Georges Bataille’s Vincent Van Gogh. ‘I can’t jack off without history peering in,’ he writes. Me neither.”
–Ariana Reines, author of The Cow