Review: Janaka Stucky’s The World Will Deny It For You

The World Will Deny It For You
Janaka Stucky
Ahsahta Press

Review by Randolph Pfaff

In his second chapbook (following Your Name is the Only Freedom), Janaka Stucky presents twenty-four brief ruminations on loss, longing, and the memories we keep long after the memory makers have gone. The World Will Deny It For You, winner of the first Ahsahta Press chapbook contest, gracefully addresses the ways in which we fail each other—and ourselves, in turn—and speaks self-consciously of our need to create tangible representations of those we have lost. Take this passage from “The Opposite of Dreams”:

Every lover is a home and what is architecture
A place which is nothing and indistinguishable
From all the other nothing until we place it
By placing something in it       and thus experience time

The yearning in these poems is awash in dense, spiritual sexuality buffeted by time and the mishandling of promises and breakable bonds. Stucky paints the hollowness of pain clearly and succinctly, and makes the movements of the natural world a mirror for our own actions, as in “Jennifer. Blood.”:

Beneath the olive tree
Your tongue     interrogating blade
Slips across my skin

In the grass

There are reminders here of the imagery of Paul Celan and Mina Loy, certainly, but Stucky’s consistency of thought creates a throughline of loss and reconciliation—and more than anything else, the vast space in between the two—that is all his own. The emotion here is raw as a fresh cut and Stucky’s thoughtfulness and lucid diction give The World Will Deny It For You a resonance that is often absent from contemporary poetry. This book will force you to acknowledge the fluidity of stasis, the permanence of the in-between, and the realization that when our lives seem most ambiguous, we are perhaps, most clearly our true selves.


Janaka Stucky is practicing the perfection of effort. He is the Publisher of Black Ocean and the author of The World Will Deny It For You (Ahsahta Press 2012) and Your Name Is The Only Freedom (Brave Men Press 2009).

Randolph Pfaff is one of the founding editors of apt.

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