“By the time the apocalypse began, the world had already ended. It ended every day for a century or two. It ended, and another ending world spun in its place.”
War, historical conflicts, present crises, and apocalyptic visions, are the motifs of Franny Choi’s The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes. Some poems are brief, others read less like poems than sections from someone’s journal or a piece of writing that will eventually lead to an essay or an article. As much as I wanted to love this collection, Choi’s language failed to draw me in. Often it struck me as affected so that I was all too aware of Choi’s creating and writing presence and unable to actually fall into the images, descriptions and reflections that she creates. This is a pity as I did appreciate how she adopted a collective perspective and at times a more personal one. For instance, when exploring episodes of violence she draws from history and colonial pasts, but also from her own experience with violence and disruption. I also did like how the images Choi conjures are often of a cyclical nature and blur the line between baggings and endings.
As much as I admired the concept of this collection, for its themes and the issues it sets out to shed a light on, I just could not lose myself in Choi’s language. I know queerness was a theme but it felt submerged by a language that was trying to impress its own lyricism onto its readers.
Her poems as they just brought to mind my time workshopping other students’ work during a creative writing class I took at uni (make of that what you will). But as I have said in other poetry reviews, I am still new to the poetry reading ‘scene’ and therefore, if this collection happens to be on your radar, you should check out more positive and/or in-depth reviews. If you are on the lookout for poetry concerned with survival, the future, past and ongoing violence, fraught histories, heritage and identity, and dystopian visions, The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes may be the perfect read for you.
My rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
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