Janaka Stucky's choices:
My top 3 nepotistic picks for 2008 -
1. Holy Land by Rauan Klassnik (Black Ocean). I admire people with no scruples; this book is amazing. When I publish someone else’s book it means putting my own writing on hold, and I love my own writing a lot. That should tell you something.
2. Dear Ra by Johannes Göransson (Starcherone). Bold, abrasive and playful this “story in flinches” puts the ‘poetry’ back in ‘drinking, fucking and fighting.’ Read it with a glass of your favorite vodka, neat.
3. Undersleep by Julie Doxsee (Octopus Books). Julie succeeds at crafting the kind of abstracted, deliberate surgeries of language that everyone else seems to be trying these days. She just does it better than most.
My fourth pick is from someone I’ve never met and it’s a chapbook:
4. Hit Wave by Jon Leon (Kitchen Press). I can’t remember the last time I laughed so much reading poetry. Hit Wave isn’t ha-ha funny, it’s just dry, brilliant and insane. Narrated in first person by the cocaine-love-baby of Oscar Wilde and Brian Wilson, this story will take you to every height and depth any artist of the 20th century has ever been to. When the book ends, instead of being exhausted you’ll just feel hungry for more.
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Janaka Stucky is the founder and managing editor of Black Ocean, and publishes the magazine Handsome. He published Rauan’s book, will be publishing Johannes’ translations of Aase Berg in 2009, and will also be publishing Julie’s second book later on in 2009. He has no relation to Jon Leon. His own work has appeared in: Cannibal, Denver Quarterly, No Tell Motel, North American Review, Redivider, VOLT and many other lucky journals.