Franny Choi Recommends...

“If I’m stuck, it usually means one of two things: either I need to travel further into myself, or I’ve gone too far and need to be pulled out. If I sit down to write and can feel that everything I’m making is relying on the old tricks, just bobbing at the surface, then I know I haven’t dug a deep enough well. On the other hand, if writing feels painful or laborious, or if it’s been a long time since I wrote anything because the thought makes me sick, it usually means I’ve dug too deep a well! Often, the best cure for this ailment is a great poetry reading—a particularly hype youth poetry slam is ideal, or a living room with friends where we’re reading each other our newest poems. Something that helps jolt me back into remembering what a poem can do to the body, how a great poem can make me spring to my feet or throw my hands up in praise. Sometimes, I need to go back and touch the electricity that brought me to poetry in the first place. When I do that, writing becomes less theoretical. And I remember who I’m writing for: my students, my friends, my past and future selves.”
—Franny Choi, author of Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019)