Franny Choi

3 Things!

Posted by on Nov 16 2015

Some cool stuff!

  1. Social Media, Race, and Disney Princesses: Check out this episode of the Poetry Off the Shelf podcast that I did with the Poetry Foundation and the incredible, brilliant Saeed Jones. We read poems by Claudia Rankine and Elana Bell.
  2. Vital Signs: Khary Jackson, author of Any Psalm You Want, wrote this great piece on my poem, “Open Letter from Jessica Alba to My Father,” for Muzzle’s “Vital Signs” series.
  3. Divedapper Interview: Kaveh Akbar interviewed me for Divedapper, a website that profiles poets. We talked about everything from first books to yellowface to robots!

New curriculum up!

Posted by on Sep 21 2015

Have you ever noticed the tiny note in the back of Floating, Brilliant, Gone that says that you can find lesson plans and curricula at Well, today, after a year and a half-long “coming soon” sign, that note is finally true!

A NEW SPECIES OF BEAUTIFUL: A Five-Workshop Curriculum on Identity & Self-Examination is now live!

Designed for students age 16-20, this free curriculum includes discussion questions and writing prompts for five poems from Floating, Brilliant, Gone: “The Hindsight Octopus,” “Chinky,” “The Mirror,” “To the Man Who Shouted ‘I Like Pork Fried Rice’ at Me on the Street,” and “Metamorphosis.”  The curriculum has a dual purpose: 1) to teach students to craft beautiful, meaningful poems; and 2) to lead students to engage critically with identity and power.

Feel free to modify, use, and share for educational purposes! More resources for educators are — seriously this time — coming soon!

regarding the yellowface poet

Posted by on Sep 09 2015

[ Poem in response to m.d.h., white poet who used a Chinese pseudonym to get published in Best American Poetry. ]


choi jeong min
for my parents, Choi Inyeong & Nam Songeun

in the first grade i asked my mother permission
to go by frances at school. at seven years old

i already knew the exhaustion of hearing my name
butchered by hammerhead tongues. already knew

to let my salty gook name drag behind me
in the sand, safely out of sight. in fourth grade

i wanted to be a writer & worried
about how to escape my surname – choi

is nothing if not korean, if not garlic breath,
if not seaweed & sesame & food stamps

during the lean years – could i go by f.j.c.? could i be
paper thin & raceless? dust jacket & coffee stain,

boneless rumor smoldering behind the curtain
& speaking through an ink-stained puppet?

my father ran through all his possible rechristenings –
ian, issac, ivan – and we laughed at each one,

knowing his accent would always give him away.
you can hear the pride in my mother’s voice

when she answers the phone this is grace, & it is
some kind of strange grace she’s spun herself,

some lightning made of chainmail. grace is not
her pseudonym, though everyone in my family is a poet.

these are the shields for the names we speak in the dark
to remember our darkness. savage death rites

we still practice in the new world. myths we whisper
to each other to keep warm. my korean name

is the star my mother cooks into the jjigae
to follow home when i am lost, which is always

in this gray country, this violent foster home
whose streets are paved with shame, this factory yard

riddled with bullies ready to steal your skin
& sell it back to your mother for profit,

land where they stuff our throats with soil
& accuse us of gluttony when we learn to swallow it.

i confess. i am greedy. i think i deserve to be seen
for what i am: a boundless, burning wick.

a stone house. i confess: if someone has looked
at my crooked spine and called it elmwood,

i’ve accepted. if someone has loved me more
for my gook name, for my saint name,

for my good vocabulary & bad joints,
i’ve welcomed them into this house.

i’ve cooked them each a meal with a star singing
at the bottom of the bowl, a secret ingredient

to follow home when we are lost:
sunflower oil, blood sausage, a name

given by your dead grandfather who eventually
forgot everything he’d touched. i promise:

i’ll never stop stealing back what’s mine.
i promise: i won’t forget again.

Announcing My Holiday Sale!

Posted by on Dec 09 2014

From now until Dec. 18th, buy one copy of Floating, Brilliant, Gone through my new online store and get the second half off! Buy two copies, and get the third half off, plus a free personalized postcard to hang up by your desk when you need inspiration!

If you’d like the copies signed to anyone in particular, just add a note when you place the order.

Again, this offer is only valid through my online store, not Amazon. Not only will you be getting a great deal, but you’ll also be buying directly from the artist. Hooray!

Click here to purchase!

New review of Floating, Brilliant, Gone on Muzzle Magazine

Posted by on Nov 21 2014

The wonderful Muzzle Magazine just posted a lovely review of Floating, Brilliant, Gone.  Here’s the opening paragraph:

“Franny Choi’s debut poetry collection Floating, Brilliant, Gone skillfully addresses trauma, identity, memory, and grief, positioning the poet as both witness to and evidence of loss, daring the past to blink first. Jess X. Chen’s illustrations – birds and bones, trees and feathers – highlight the uneasy ethereality that runs through the collection. Together, the words and images evoke the relationship between absence and permanence, a haunted house with windows opening onto surprising moments of beauty and joy.”

Read the whole review here.

New Tour Dates!

Posted by on Oct 21 2014

Just added a bunch more tour dates for November and December here! I’ll be in Boston this Friday at Simmons College, so come say hello if you’re in the area!

P.S. The photo above is from a recent reading with Natalie Shapero and the Poetry Foundation at the University of Chicago’s Gallery 400. The reading was in conjunction with an incredible exhibition by the performance arts collective My Barbarian.