The Truth Is We Are Perfect

Janaka Stucky. Third Man (Consortium, dist.), $14.95 trade paper (88p) ISBN 978-0-9913361-1-1
"In spite of my flesh colored shadow I have no arms to hold," Stucky, publisher of indie house Black Ocean, announces near the end of this passionately direct poetry collection, his first full-length volume after two chapbooks. Stucky's raw works, sometimes composed as fragments or litanies, give a dreamlike power to an antinomian religion of erotic love: "I eat your footsteps in my sleep/ I wake from my animal dream a legend," he announces, in one of many poems entitled "Recreating a Miraculous Object." Buddhist ideas of reincarnation collide with notions of sexual abandon; Stucky expects to "drown beneath the blood that drips/ From your unnamable tongue," and promises himself, or his lover, or the reader, that "Our honest desire will eventually destroy us." His lines—sometimes reminiscent of European surrealism—even revel in that destruction: "When the oracle says you/ I punch the sun." Readers who treasure subtlety and realistic detail above all else might look elsewhere, but those who want to be blown away by love and death, by fear and sublimity, can stay right here. The volume's status as the first single-author publication from the rock star Jack White's Third Man Books (an outgrowth of Third Man Records) could boost the attention it is sure to receive. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 08/03/2015
Release date: 04/01/2015
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