Review of The Yellow House by Chiwan Choi
There are two types of poetry books I enjoy. One where I read a few poems each day, and savor them like a good wine. The other is a collection where I read it in one sitting. I prefer the second. I want a collection that gets me drunk. I want poetry I can binge on. I want it to be better than Netflix, Facebook, and shitty delicious fast food.
I finished The Yellow House by Chiwan Choi in one sitting, on my birthday. I get existential on my birthdays. I think about family and friends that I no longer have and about how I will get old one day. I ruminate on the past, but also feel excited for the future. Birthdays are the perfect days to read poetry.
This was a good month ago, and poetry is tough to review. I’ve been sitting on this review for too long. We struggle to make time to read poetry, it’s even harder to review it. That binge feels like a dream now. Yet, when I picture and recall lines in The Yellow House emotions of sadness and longing of family come up. A Yellow House that is gone and no longer there, like my mother. I still miss her.
I can remember the trancelike feeling of going through each page. Binging on poetry is different than a novel you devour in a day. It is not a character or story beats that you remember in poetry—it is the emotions and moments you share with the poet. Choi, uses a voice that is precise, tight, and vulnerable, to create that bond.
I want an emotional connection to the lines, but I also enjoy a narrative. I don’t want to just get distracted by pretty word salads. I want a to connect with the poet. I want the poet to have heart and personality. Choi gives me both with his mediation on family, the past, and the evocative motif of The Yellow House. I enjoyed walking with him through The Yellow House and will definitely visit it again.
Christoph Paul is an award-winning humor author. He writes non-fiction, YA, Bizarro, horror, and poetry including: The Passion of the Christoph, Great White House Volume 1 and Volume 2, Slasher Camp for Nerd Dorks, and Horror Film Poems. He is an editor for CLASH Media and CLASH Books and edited the anthologies Walk Hand in Hand Into Extinction: Stories Inspired by True Detective and This Book Ain’t Nuttin to Fuck With: A Wu-Tang Tribute Anthology. Under the pen name Mandy De Sandra, he writes Bizarro Erotica that has been covered in VICE, Huffington Post, Jezebel, and AV Club. He is represented by Veronica Park at Corvisiero Literary Agency.