Franny Choi

Franny Choi is a queer, Korean-American poet, playwright, teacher, organizer, pottymouth, GryffinClaw, and general overachiever.  She is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She has received awards from the Poetry Foundation and the Helen Zell Writers Program, as well as fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Her poems have appeared in journals including Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, and New England Review, and her work has been featured by the Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine, PBS NewsHour, and Angry Asian Man.

Poet Monica Youn called Franny’s forthcoming book Soft Science “raw and radiant,” while Diane Seuss wrote: “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.” In a review of her chapbook Death by Sex Machine, the journal Up the Staircase Quarterly wrote: “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.”

A former co-director of the award-winning Providence Poetry Slam, Franny has been a finalist in competitions including the National Poetry Slam, the Individual World Poetry Slam, and the Women of the World Poetry Slam. She is a two-time winner of the Rustbelt Poetry Slam and has performed her work in schools, conferences, theaters, and bars across the country. She has taught students of all ages and levels of experience, including at the University of Michigan as a Graduate Student Instructor and through organizations like Project VOICE and InsideOut Literary Arts Project. A Kundiman Fellow and 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. As a curator, she has worked with organizations including Split This Rock and the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center, and she is particularly passionate about highlighting the voices of queer and trans poets of Asian and Pacific Island diasporas.

Franny is the author of two plays: Mask Dances, which was produced as part of the 2011 Writing is Live Festival in Providence, RI, and Family Style, which was given several staged readings in Chicago in 2017. Aside from writing and teaching, Franny is a Senior News Editor for Hyphen Magazine and hosts the Poetry Foundation podcast VS along with fellow poet Danez Smith. A member of the Dark Noise Collective, Franny is currently a Zell Postgraduate Fellow at the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program and a Citywide Poets Site Leader at the Detroit School of Arts. She lives in Hamtramck, MI with some very resilient plants.