Highlighted by Black Ocean
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Meet our April Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Janaka Stucky

Highlighted by Black Ocean

Janaka Stucky is the author of The Truth Is We Are Perfect (Third Man Books, 2015) and the Publisher of Black Ocean as well as its annual poetry journal, Handsome. He is also the author of two chapbooks: 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 a two-time National Haiku Champion and in 2010 he was voted “Boston’s Best Poet” in the Boston Phoenix.

Photo Credit: Adrianne Mathiowetz
Poetic Profession "My parents exposed me to many traditions growing up: Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and several other more esoteric ones… We visited sites and teachers around the world and I pulled a little from each of them. Likewise I pulled knowledge from other experiences I sought out on my own: working in the funeral business, backpacking around India, journeying into the Sahara, experimenting with psychedelics, fasting, etc. I believe any state of absolute intention and awareness can be a form of meditation, so poetry can be a meditation. I wrote my new book over many years from a series of trance states, which I entered through an intentional ritual. As a result, the poems are often incantatory—but also infused with a necessary silence. In this way the poem is as much the attention to breath and silence as it is to language. It is equal parts white space and words." -Janaka Stucky

The Concept of Our Greater Power

Under a white sky we stand
In a vast pasture of black tentacles

Enduring the aeon
Of invisible age

Kindless wonder we keep
Tucked blindly under a belt of knives

But now is here
This massacre of breath

Erupting from our hands’
Collision the moment we see

Instead of the sun
Up from the world’s edge

An exaltation of tongues
Crack the firmament

While the creatured earth hums
Us two too

Mute as shellfish
Falling backward in

To our bodies fractured
With love we sing

All flesh is flesh
A quivering of fins

From early silent films to early punk rock, Black Ocean brings together a spectrum of influences and combines them with a radical social perspective on the nature of art and humanity. In conjunction with our book releases we manifest our aesthetic in the concerts and exhibitions we produce, the parties we stage, as well as other celebrations around the country. We are committed to promoting artists we firmly believe in, and sharing our enthusiasm for their work with a global audience.

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we shine the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners.
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