In honor of National Poetry Month, Boston-based poet and national haiku champion Janaka Stucky joins us to talk about his new book-length poem, “Ascend Ascend.” Written over the course of 20 days in trance states, “Ascend Ascend” is rooted in the Jewish occult, Kabbalah and ascent to God’s chariot (also known as hechalot, or “ascension” literature).

Tune in as Stucky reads a powerful selection from his poem and discusses his inspiration and process, his past work as an undertaker, plus mysticism, meditation and heavy metal.

As an added bonus, if you’ve never heard a competitive haiku poet put on the spot, make sure you stick around until the end to hear Stucky freestyle and crush the competition.

(Courtesy image)

Edited by Jesse Ulrich, with music by Ryan J. Sullivan.