Many have called the last years dystopic. But The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On reminds us that apocalypse has already come in myriad ways for marginalized peoples, and calls forth the importance of imagining what will persist in the aftermaths.
With lyric and tonal dexterity, these poems spin backwards and forwards in time. They look into the collective psyche of our years in the pandemic and in the throes of anti-racist uprisings, while imagining other vectors, directions, and futures. Stories of survival collide across space and time—from comfort women during the Korean War to children wandering a museum in the future. These poems explore narrative distances and queer linearity, investigating on microscopic scales before soaring towards the universal. Throughout, Choi grapples with where the individual can fit within the strange landscapes of this apocalyptic world, with its violent and many-layered histories. In the process, she imagines what togetherness—between Black and Asian and other marginalized communities, between living organisms, between children of calamity and conquest—could look like.
In The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On, old and new stories are put through a collider; what emerges is pure sonic energy, grounded by the complex entanglements that connect us all. The combination of the speculative imagination, playfulness, and wisdom in these poems ultimately chart new paths toward hope.