Monday, May 14, 2018

Chiwan Choi

I have spent most of my adult life living in Los Angeles. I identify as a Los Angeles writer.   Because of this, it is particularly fulfilling to be able to feature artists whose work I feel strongly reflect the character of this city.  Chiwan Choi's work does just that...and then goes beyond.  As a writer and publisher Chiwan has become a fixture in the LA writing scene, through his own powerful work and by putting forth and the work of others through his press Writ Large.  I asked him to write a brief reflection after the photo shoot we did.  


"I will be 48 this year, in 2018. I left Korea when I was 5. It’s weird because when people ask, I tell them Los Angeles is home to me. And I think I mean it when I say this. I really do. But not a day goes by where something or someone, a memory or a movement, a building or a person or the sound of voices or music, a taste of a food, there’s not a day that goes by where I don’t lose track of where I am and my body braces for the relocation to come. I used to say how moving was just tiring. I also say how fun it is to travel back and forth from coast to coast. But the truth is—I will be 48 this year and I don’t think I’ve ever recovered—no, scratch that. I don’t think I’ve ever recognized, therefore ever reconciled with, what leaving Seoul at 5 did to me."

Chiwan Choi is the author of 3 books of poetry, The Flood, Abductions, and The Yellow House. He wrote, presented, and destroyed the novel Ghostmaker throughout the course of 2015. His poems and essays have appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, ONTHEBUS, Esquire.com, and The Nervous Breakdown.


Chiwan splits his time between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.  A poem of his appears below.










untitled (work in progress)

today

i cried

for me
because

this thing
of mine
named Body
is broken
and i can’t

remember
when it began                        the first fracture
that gave
birth
to the life
that followed

today

i cried

for the me
in between

strangers on
another
cross country flight
thinking of
father                                     and mother

pointing outside
the small windows
of a pan am
flight
into darkness
telling me

to be happy
of the uncertainty
to come
beyond boundaries
i was too young

to even know
existed.

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