First, a crown of sonnets about Chatroulette (remember Chatroulette??) in BOAAT alongside a whole cast of stunners, compiled by the wonder sam sax, who recently became the journal’s Poetry Editor (good for them, good for the world.)
And: four poems (“Acknowledgments,” “Selected Silences,” “Rhetoracle,” and “Physical Therapy”) in the latest issue of Pinwheel, alongside a lot of really exciting work that I’m still excitedly digging through.
“Selected Silences” will (according to this very exciting galley proof!) be in my chapbook, which is coming out on Sibling Rivalry Press this fall.
“Rhetoracle” is in the voice of Tay, a Twitter chatbot created by Microsoft, who became bizarrely racist in about 24 hours. CW for racist language in the epigraph of that poem.
Did you know that AWP is exhausting? Especially when you spend half of it being sick? Who knew? I guess, me, now.
Speaking of exhausting, just put up my spring tour schedule. Some of these are Project VOICE gigs, so best bets for open-to-the-public shows are the ones at Duke, U Chicago, and the Toronto Poetry Slam. Come say hi if you’re around!
Damned if I do, damned,
damned. What pet name
to give the firing squad?
How to deescalate
a burning house? What’s
the proper way to bury
your sister – alive, in fistfuls,
or years before she asks
for lungs? And what
shovel, really? what boots?
what booming text, what pundit
wiktionary snuff cycle, what
hands, ever, have I owned?
I slice open my palms & find
more palms. Everything I touch
turns to a wet claw, as is
my right, as an American.
Right? Better a hole in the ground
than a whole village? As if
my feet are anywhere near
the road. What dream,
which woke. What chokehold
to smother this too-trebly
dronebeat? Which otherskull
to cleave open with my own
only teeth, stolen, like everything,
from the grave of a stranger
wearing my face? I will go,
I swear, I will go with the one
who sings it best, my favorite
song: you chose to be good.
you chose to be
good. you chose to
be good. you
chose to be
Not doing much touring for the fall while in school but the few shows nailed down so far are on the tour page, and the good news is that I bought a pack of those pens that are like four different colors so that you can take highly organized notes. Because I’m still / I’m still Franny from the block (or, as you might call it, academic bowl team).
Have they run out of white poets yet?
If they haven’t, we’ve reason to fret.
Long ago, there was just Billy Shakes –
other white people’s stories he’d take.
But then Ezra looked toward the East
to spice up his post-War can of meat,
said he wanted to bridge East and West
(but it’s shoddy translation, at best).
And then Kenny Rexroth got prize winnings
for translations of Japanese women.
But surprise! It was all a big game
for ol’ Ken to get unearned acclaim.
turned out to be Johnson, and you’da
thought that that’d be the end of the story,
but more white poets wanted more glory.
M.D.H. couldn’t get his poems placed,
so he took on Ms. Yi-Fen Chou’s face.
(Not to mention Vanessa and Kenneth –
among recent fuck-ups, they’re the zenith.)
Now along bumbles – what’s his name? Trillin?
Figured it’d been a while, so he’d fill in
for the other old crusty white croutons
who ran out of nice flowers to muse on.
To be fair, Calvin didn’t pretend
to be aught but himself: a sad send-
up of Dr. Seuss decked in his finest
anti-Asian regalia, minus
any interest in speaking to those
who don’t share his tax bracket or clothes.
We thought after Yi-Fen we’d be set
with this shit but I’m willing to bet
soon we’ll find one we still haven’t met.
Have they run out of white poets yet?
Keep you eyes peeled — this super exciting project is dropping this week! A great gift for that poetry-lovin’ friend who’s always on the road, or has a long commute, or likes to work out to sad poems about racism!
With music and sound design by Brigid Choi! Besides being my awesome sibling, Brigid is also an amazing video game music composer! You can check out more of Brigid’s stuff here!
In case you missed it: he wonderful Corinne Segal interviewed me and spotlighted my poem, “Field Trip to the Museum of Humam History,” for PBS News Hour. What strange times.
Corinne has also been holding down that space for POC, QT*, and immigrant poets, so check out some of the other features, including my collective mates Fatimah Asghar and Danez Smith.
This poem is 100% for my Providence movement family, most of all for PrYSM. I understand that not everyone will agree with the vision of this poem. Many people have called me a “naive girl” for writing it. Abolition is a more complex and much more vast project than this one poem can capture. My hope is only to give people who are already fighting every day (in concrete and loving ways) for liberation from police violence a brief glimpse into another world. For more information about what abolition might look like, check out this quick read in The Nation or Ursula K. LeGuin’s novel The Dispossessed.
Some cool stuff!
Have you ever noticed the tiny note in the back of Floating, Brilliant, Gone that says that you can find lesson plans and curricula at www.frannychoi.com/curriculum? Well, today, after a year and a half-long “coming soon” sign, that note is finally true!
Designed for students age 16-20, this free curriculum includes discussion questions and writing prompts for five poems from Floating, Brilliant, Gone: “The Hindsight Octopus,” “Chinky,” “The Mirror,” “To the Man Who Shouted ‘I Like Pork Fried Rice’ at Me on the Street,” and “Metamorphosis.” The curriculum has a dual purpose: 1) to teach students to craft beautiful, meaningful poems; and 2) to lead students to engage critically with identity and power.
Feel free to modify, use, and share for educational purposes! More resources for educators are — seriously this time — coming soon!