Two New Books for You

Chiwan Choi lights it up!

One of the pleasures in reading out is meeting other writers. April was a great month for me because I got to read with two stand-up guys who are also great writers with incredible new books out on indie nonprofit presses.

Chiwan Choi, whom I was introduced to by my close pal Soya Jung, is the author of The Flood, a collection of poems, just published by Tia Chucha Press. He makes me think of a neo-Bukowski and his poems make me feel dirty and unloved. It’s easy to make people feel good. It’s harder to push people over to the crevasses and make them take a good hard look down.

“and one day/i told my father i was leaving/and he sat up in his bed and cried/and we wrapped clumsy arms around each other/like two boys in love/but it was too late or too soon/for such things”

– from the poem “tides.”

Two peas from a damaged pod. Cihan Kaan (right)

I met Cihan Kaan at AWP, just completely randomly because he stopped by the Kaya booth and picked up Waylaid. Hey, he had to be cool! Cihan’s collection of shorts, Halal Pork and Other Stories, was just published by UpSet Press. You want street cred? Homeboy has been getting death threats for the title alone. And just to turn a metaphor around, his writing is killer.

“Brooklyn, New York, September 11th, 1981, I was four. My father had to break into his own apartment, where my mom and her new boyfriend were just beginning to throw a live lobster into a boiling cauldron. Up until that point, my short life had been filled with episodes of my parents battling each other on a near daily basis. When Dad finally left, Mom didn’t waste time finding the next guy.”

– from “Isa, American Turk”

Check out The Flood and Halal Pork and Other Stories. If you meet me and tell me you’ve read them, I will think you’re really cool.