Franny Choi

Poetry Magazine (and more goodness)

Posted by on Mar 04 2014

Lots of updates!

Most exciting of all, two of my poems (“Second Mouth” and “To the Man Who Shouted ‘I Like Pork Fried Rice’ at Me on the Street”) are in Poetry Magazine this month for a special issue in collaboration with Split This Rock, at which I’ll be presenting later this month. This is my first appearance in Poetry, and I can’t stop running my hands all over the hard copy I received in the mail.

You can listen to the editors and the director of STR discuss my poems in the Poetry Magazine podcast.

Four of my poems were just published in the online version of PANK, a journal I’ve admired for a while.

Five poems appeared in the Monster issue of Gesture, another great journal.

And lastly, an interview with me recently appeared in a Korean magazine called Topclass, which is connected to the Chosun Ilbo.

Three Poems in Radius

Posted by on Mar 04 2014

Three poems (“Bird Watching,” “Bait,” and Chinky”) were published on Radius Lit earlier this month. Read ’em here.

 

Spoiler alert: Oppression is sad.

 

Spoiler alert 2: All these poems are in my new book, which you can pre-order on Powell’s and Amazon!

Sojourner House Interview & New Tour Dates!

Posted by on Dec 13 2013

I’m super honored and humbled to be featured on the Sojourner House website as part of their “Weekend Warrior” Series.  Read the interview here! And please check out and support the amazing, important work that Sojourner House does to end domestic violence. They’ve got a whole wish list for in-kind donations!

Also added a bunch of new tour dates for Spring 2014! I’m currently booking dates in the Midwest in late April. Contact choi.franny@gmail.com for booking inquiries!

Mid-Atlantic Tour Recap!

Posted by on Oct 17 2013

Ok, so updating this blog while on tour didn’t work out quite so well as I hoped. So here’s a recap:

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I had a blast at Kollaboration DC, where I was a guest performer along with last year’s winner, G Yamazawa. Though all the red carpet pizzazz was a little too glam for my octopussy (heh heh) tendencies, it was great to see so much APIA talent in one room. Kudos to winner Dave Yoon who basically broke everyone’s hearts into tiny pieces. (Koreans, man. Gotta love em.) It felt particularly profound to perform “POPgoesKOREA” in a room where so many people had had close interactions with the Kpop system. It was ten times scarier to critique that system, but damn it felt good for people to come up to me afterwards and say, “You’re right. I was there.” Shuddertown!

A few nights later, I got to share the stage with some stellar-ass DC poets, including Pages Matam, Sarah Lawson, G (again), Adele Hampton, and Drew Law at a fundraiser show to help send Pages to IWPS. What a beautiful man. So many bowties. So many poems.

franni3Then I featured at two Busboys & Poets venues. Hot damn! DC might be the only city in the U.S. with a truly sustainable spoken word poetry circuit. And it’s all due to one entrepreneur dude who happens to love poetry. There are like a billion venues that sell out every night of the week. What the f? I mean I know the revolution will not be funded but… it’s hard out here, yall. And better that that money goes to poetry than some other stuff, right? I don’t know. Late night questions for me and the ceiling fan to work out.

Anyway, then it was back up to Philly for a workshop at the Asian Arts Institute, where I got to hang with a bunch of awesome middle schoolers. What a dope org. Thank goodness for games like one-word story and watermelon. I forgot how much middle schoolers need to blow off steam after school. In case you don’t know, it’s a LOT.

That night, I featured at The Pigeon, which is definitely one of the most live, packed shows in the country, I think. I love seeing a room of people who are excited about hearing poems. And a host who says “I will boo you if you get up here and say some racist, homophobic, sexist, ableist, or classist shit.” Respect x 100000000000.

Oh, and then Kiss Punch Poem. Hell yeah. Jared Singer makes my heart come alive. Olivia Gatwood and Thomas Fucaloro made everything perfect. And improv (good improv) is so damn impressive it makes me cry. ATTENTION POETS: THIS IS A FUN THING TO DO. YOU SHOULD DO IT.

NEXT UP: West Coast Tour! See dates here!

 

 

 

 

Mid-Atlantic Mini-Tour!

Posted by on Sep 28 2013

Today was the first day of my mini-tour of Philly and DC! I headed down to Philly for my first stop, a feature at The Fuze: Philadelphia Poetry Slam. Highlights of the bus ride included my new inflatable travel pillows (no one else seems to be as excited as I am about these) and scarfing down super sloppy homemade California rolls while squeezed between two dudes. (Lowlights included having to pay $20 for a new ticket after I missed my bus from NYC, but f*ck the lowlights [and f*ck Greyhound].)

Big ups to the folks at the slam tonight. The open mic and slam were fantastic. The more of these shows I do, the harder I believe in small poetry communities. It’s pretty wild how you can go to so many different venues across the country and find the same love in every place. People with feelings and ideas coming together once a week to listen to each other talk? Instead of tweeting or Facebooking or Instagramming each other? That’s so beautiful I can’t even stand it. So beautiful it doesn’t even matter what the “quality” of poems is like.

Next stop is DC, where I’ll be a guest performer at Kollaboration DC. Can’t wait to kick it with some talented-ass APIAs.

Let’s all agree we won’t be too disappointed if I fall off updating this blog this week. But also agree that we’ll congratulate me if I do. Cool? Cool.

Write Bloody Contest Video

Posted by on May 29 2013

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUi-WP1bQ3U]

After a year of learning, loving, and writing, I am again a finalist for the Write Bloody Manuscript Contest. If I’m chosen as one of the contest’s winners, I’ll get a book deal with a dope indie press that specializes in publishing and promoting performance poets. Which gives me lots of prickly feelings every time I think about.
 
I finally sent in my manuscript (a scratched-up, labored-over, many-times-reincarnated little beast) earlier this month. But, as I said, Write Bloody publishes poets who can also give stellar performances of their work, so part of the contest is to submit a YouTube video-poem. 
 
If you’ve already had a chance to peep my poem, thank you! If not, I would be so grateful if you could take a moment to watch the video, like it on the YouTube page, and pass it on.
 
Thanks for believing in my work!
 
In love & solidarity,
FC

13/30: flower boys

Posted by on Apr 17 2013

i.
in between songs on the radio, all four engines in the car
pause to laugh at the flowers, all their flambuoyant joy.
buzz fiercely over one another to drive out the murky
underbelly of everyone’s insecurities, blossomed into
jokes. the pleasure of friction, of throwing each other’s
manhood under the wheels. of grinding the nectar into
powder to make everyone sneeze out their fears.

ii.
at thanksgiving: a fat red-eyed bulldog named princess
drools in the corner while family friends toss doubt
about someone’s love interest. something funny about
him. everyone accepts this as indecent, the flowers
with their stamens winking in the breeze. they all
up end choosing a side. carving the flesh with their
teeth, hyenas cackling over something rotting.

iii.
in the auditorium, a drone of laughter erupts at the
backhanded beheading of the lilies. i sit, squirming,
praying the thousand searchlights won’t catch me
with my mouth full of honeysuckles. or praying
they will– that is, praying i’ll have the strength to be
a venus fly trap, act sweet and sticky to lure their
pollen before i swallow all their jokes whole.

see: flower boys of south korea

12/30: Every night

Posted by on Apr 16 2013

I cling
to my snoring lover
hoping my exhaustion
will catch up to me
before my fears
do.

11/30: Burnout

Posted by on Apr 14 2013

all our calendars are overrun with ants. shoveling food as we duck through doors. the late-night trek home after racetrack conversations, a day-long stream of words burning a hole in our brains. nights staring into an endless hallway of tasks, the ghosts of to-do lists hollering from the blur. we are suns racing and crashing back into the sea. we all sow the next day’s crop, banking on each other to pull ourselves up in the morning. run and run and run and run and fall, a wounded gazelle in the place of our lungs. doped up on crisis, because nothing happens unless a meteor’s headed straight for the schoolyard, though we all know the constant rain of pebbles on all our heads. the hounds are always snapping at our heels, their chainsaw laughter breathing down our necks. so what to do but pump our legs until we climb into the sky, climb until our legs give out and we dive, eyes closed. juggle all of our planners until this ferris wheeling fills our bones with the thin soup of sick. until finally, we hide in forts made of newspapers and properly cooked dinners, wrap ourselves in peace, and cut the cord, swearing we’ll never meet another’s eyes again.

10/30: Spring Cleaning

Posted by on Apr 12 2013

the new grocery sells real cheese. edging out the plastic bodega substitute. the fruit truck still sets up its boxes of plantains down the block from plates of steaming mussels and bloody marys, tiptoe tourists. ooh, new land. artists march down the street, congratulate themselves on keeping it real. dog leash to the new deli. bringing culture to the west end. cop on speed dial. neighborhood cleanups catch a few live ones. finally some good pastrami around these parts. flashing blue through the window. radio crooning orders. flowers arranged. rubber on tar. skin on steel. an army of macbook pros. say west end like a badge while the folks on the other side of cranston street shake their heads. on the street corner, interrogation lamps burning eyelids. silent battlefront that new settlers keep in back-pocket boxes. sweeping the foyer. out with the old.