Kunidman Fellow &
Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellow!
Wearing a crown of sonnets like a dime store tiara, Franny Choi’s cyborg cephalopod is a creature of unending amazements, unfurling tendril after tendril—some surgical, some sensual, some weaponized, some rubberized—brandishing hypodermics, vibrators, cigarettes, smartphones, or simply snapping in time to the beat...At once raw and radiant, these brilliant poems are at their most human when they assert their alienness, at their most ferocious when they dare to be vulnerable.
-Monica Youn, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award
Franny Choi’s generous inventiveness transmutes the book’s violent lore into a ferocious tenderness. In its conceptual heft, formal virtuosity, queer imagination, multi-dexterous approach to language, and tonal intricacy, Soft Science is a crucial book for our time—perhaps the book for our time.
-Diane Seuss, author of Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl
Franny Choi is a queer, Korean-American writer of poems, essays, & more. She is the author of two poetry collections, SOFT SCIENCE (Alice James Books, 2019) & FLOATING, BRILLIANT, GONE (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), as well as one chapbook, DEATH BY SEX MACHINE (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017).
She was a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow & has also received awards from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts & Princeton University’s Lewis Center.
Her poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, Paris Review, American Poetry Review, & elsewhere. She co-hosts the poetry podcast VS (it’s pronounced “verses”—get it?) alongside Danez Smith.
SOFT SCIENCE was a Rumpus & Paris Review staff pick & received attention from outlets including NPR, The New York Times, & Lit Hub, which called it “profoundly intelligent work which makes you feel.” A review in Strange Horizons said it “offers fireworks enough for everyone, whether you’re excited about the queerness of cyborgs, the nature of consciousness, or the porous boundaries of contemporary lyric poetry.” SOFT SCIENCE was awarded the Elgin Award from the Science Fiction Poetry Association in 2020, & it was a finalist for awards from Lambda Literary, Publishing Triangle, and the Massachusetts Center for the Book.
A seasoned performer, Franny is a two-time winner of the Rustbelt Poetry Slam & has performed her work in schools, conferences, theaters, & bars across the country. As a teaching artist, Franny has taught students of all ages and levels of experience, both in formal classroom settings & through organizations like Project VOICE & InsideOut Literary Arts Project.
A Kundiman Fellow & graduate of the VONA Workshop, she founded the Brew & Forge Book Fair, a fundraising project that brings together readers and writers to build capacity in social justice community organizations. In 2019, she launched the Brew & Forge Lecture Series at Williams College, which puts poets & organizers in conversation with each other to discuss the intersections of activism & literary arts. As a curator, she has worked with organizations including Split This Rock & the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, & she is particularly passionate about highlighting the voices of queer & trans poets of Asian/Pacific diasporas.
Franny is teaching at Williams College as a Bolin Fellow in English through spring 2021. She is at work on a third poetry manuscript & an essay collection about race, gender, & robots.
Whether tracking the adventures of the ‘cyborg’ or eavesdropping on conversations between sisters, it’s all the same world. These striking poems ring through with a singular voice, creating a society that helps us understand our own. When you open a book of poems, ‘isn’t that what you came to see?’ Choi builds a world not only of striking beauty and lucid politics, but also, more importantly, with love.
-A. Van Jordan, author of The Cineste
In her invention of form, engagement with theory and genre, and truly empathetic approach to identity, Choi offers the reader a poetry of imagination; writing which builds new possibilities for itself, even as it remains relevant to contemporary conversations around poetry and body. It’s a brilliant read.
-Up the Staircase Quarterly