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(Chap)Book Notes: Janaka Stucky’s Your Name Is The Only Freedom

After reading for the GRE Lit test the past several months, I came to this, the first chapbook I’ve read in a long time, with my brain violated by all the Victorianism–shell-shocked–& still digesting some  shifts in my “personal life” (some crappy, some better (living here)).

In the halo of fire surrounding an encounter with a destroying goddess/beloved, Your Name… is erotic, esoteric, and makes the frightful what we should desire–exactly what I needed to read.

Some of the best lines here take gestures that might seem absurdly gothic–

In the dark there is only darkness and

And push forward, unblinkingly–

The darker things dark clings to

–imploding our initial resistance to it through sheer excess.

Sample poems here. Beautifully printed too.

The kind of short line making, couplet use, and the correlating rhythms seems related (cousins maybe?) to what Schomburg is doing in Scary, No Scary. It seems deceptively simple. I’m looking forward to more.

That’s all. I’d hate to ruin my enjoyment and maybe yours by saying any more.

Filed under: Book Notes

About the Author

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Joe Hall is the author of five books of poetry, including Someone's Utopia (2018) and Fugue & Strike (forthcoming). His poems, reviews, and scholarship have appeared in Poetry Daily, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, Postcolonial Studies, Peach Mag,, PEN America Blog, Poetry Northwest, Ethel Zine, Gulf Coast, Best Buds! Collective, and Eighteenth-Century Fiction. He has taught poetry workshops for teachers, teens, and workers through Just Buffalo and the WNYCOSH Worker Center.

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