In 2015 Third Man Books selected the critically acclaimed The Truth is We are Perfect by poet Janaka Stucky as our first single author title for publication. We are beyond excited to announce that we will be publishing Stucky’s second book of poems, Ascend Ascend. A book length poem and Stucky’s most powerful verse to date, Ascend Ascend is available for pre-order now and will be in bookstores everywhere April 2019.
Poets, booksellers, and rock stars alike all have one thing in common—today at least—and that is their passion for the work of poet Janaka Stucky. Written over the course of twenty days coming in and out of trance states while secluded in the tower of a 100-year-old church, Stucky’s new collection ASCEND ASCEND is rooted in the Jewish mystical tradition of Hekhalot literature, which chronicles an ascent up the Kabbalistic Tree of Life to witness the “chariot of God.” While traditional Hekhalot prose trends dry—focused on preparations for the journey while demurring to describe the experience itself—Ascend Ascend uses poetry to touch the ineffable. Equal parts Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” and Funkadelic’s “Maggot Brain,” this long poem documents the ecstatic destruction of the self through its union with the divine. Partnering with Atlas Obscura and Third Man Books, Stucky’s readings to support Ascend Ascend will take him to a series of stunning destination venues in Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, Washington, D.C. throughout 2019.
“Janaka Stucky is extraordinary, and his work riveting.” —Jimmy Page, Led Zeppelin
“He pulls from Eastern religious texts, mysticism, and the occult, and casts dirty, hallucinatory images onto graceful lines.” —Kenyon Review
“Janaka Stucky’s Ascend Ascend drafts a surreal, mythological landscape in which maximalist language shreds the natural world. Light becomes rainbowed sex. Intestines tangle into an aria. The sky is gallowed. At the center of this apocalyptic devastation stand Stucky and the speaker of these poems, asserting selfhood: I explode. I shall love. I ascend. Stucky’s verse reminds us that even as we sink deeper and deeper into unknown darkness, humanity is a flashlight beaming outward.” —Benjamin Rybeck, Brazos Bookstore (Houston, TX)
Janaka Stucky is a mystic poet, performer, and founding editor of the award-winning press, Black Ocean. In 2015 Jack White’s Third Man Records launched a new publishing imprint, Third Man Books, and chose Janaka’s full-length poetry collection, The Truth Is We Are Perfect, as their inaugural title. Other books include Your Name Is The Only Freedom, and The World Will Deny It For You. His poems have appeared in such journals as Denver Quarterly, Fence and North American Review, and his articles have been published by The Huffington Post and The Poetry Foundation. He is also a two-time National Haiku Champion.