Janaka Stucky is a mystic poet, performer, and founding editor of the award-winning press Black Ocean. He’s here to talk about his latest book of poetry, Ascend Ascend, recently released by Jack White’s publishing imprint, Third Man Books.
Ascend Ascend was written over the course of twenty days, coming in and out of trance states brought on by intermittent fasting and somatic rituals while Janaka secluded himself in the tower of a 100-year-old church. The book is rooted in the Jewish mystical tradition of merkabah literature, chronicling an ascent up the kabbalistic sefirot. Janaka noted in his description of the book that traditional merkabah prose tends to be rather dry and focused on preparations for the journey while sort of avoiding descriptions of the experience itself. But Ascend Ascend skirts that norm and Janaka instead has chosen to document the entire journey, which he describes as the ecstatic destruction of the self.
There is a 25-minute Patreon extension with Janaka, and more on that after the chat, but for now let’s sit back, relax and let Janaka lay some icky thump on us with what Vice recently called his doom-metal mysticism.
Finding the show’s mantra (love yourself, think for yourself and question authority) embedded into Janaka’s poetry
Janaka’s spiritual anarchism
Poetry as a form of protest
Activism from a place of love vs activism from a place of anger
Poetry as both theurgy and thaumaturgy
Destruction of the self and ego death
Janaka’s meditation experience where he turned into a mountain
Living in a pirate utopia
Being among a group of the first poets to take the stage at the Newport Folk Festival and meeting Jack White backstage
And maybe possibly Jack White’s occult interests
PRODUCTION & LICENSING
This podcast is produced in the Kingdom of Ohio and is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International.
Executive Producers: Mike K., Carter Y., Mauricio G., Daniel R., Kelly C., Bruce H., Marcelo T., Christopher B., Timothy W., Nick F., Michael Q., Jamaica J., Mute Ryan, John W., Andy E., Colleen F., Saliyah S., Kevin C., Michael S., Kyle A., Megan B., Kaleb H.