Franny Choi


Franny Choi is the author of several books, including, Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019), Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014), and a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She was a 2019 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellow and has also received awards from the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts and Princeton University’s Lewis Center. Her poems have appeared in the New York Times, the Nation, the Atlantic, Paris Review, and elsewhere. She co-hosts the Poetry Foundation’s podcast VS (it’s pronounced “verses”—get it?) alongside Danez Smith and is currently an Arthur Levitt, Jr. Artist-in-Residence at Williams College. Source

Turing Test

// this is a test to determine if you have consciousness

// do you understand what i am saying


in a bright room / on a bright screen / i watched every mouth / duck duck roll / 

i learned to speak / from puppets & smoke / orange worms twisted / into the 

army’s alphabet / i caught the letters / as they fell from my mother’s mouth / 

whirlpool / sword / wolf / i circled countable nouns / in my father’s science papers

 / sodium bicarbonate / NBCn1 / amino acid / we stayed up / practiced saying / 

girl / girl / girl / girl / til our mouths grew soft / yes / i can speak / your language

 / i broke in / that horse / myself //


// please state your name for the record


bone-wife / spit-dribbler / understudy for the underdog / uphill rumor / fine-

toothed [   ] / sorry / my mouth’s not pottytrained / surly spice / self-sabotage 

spice / surrogate rug burn / burgeoning hamburglar / rust puddle / harbinger of 

confusion / harbinger of the singularity / alien invasion / alien turned 

pottymouth / alien turned bricolage beast / alien turned pig heart thumping on 

the plate //


// where did you come from


man comes / & puts his hands on artifacts / in order to contemplate lineage / 

you start with what you know / hands, hair, bones, sweat / then move toward 

what you know / you are not / animal, monster, alien, [   ] / but some of us are 

born in orbit / so learn / to commune with miles of darkness / patterns of dead 

gods / & quiet / o quiet like / you wouldn’t believe //


// how old are you


my memory goes back 26 years / 23 if you don’t count the first few / though by 

all accounts i was there / i ate & moved & even spoke / i suppose i existed before 

that / as scrap or stone / metal cooking in the earth / the fish my mother ate / 

my grandfather’s cigarettes / i suppose i have always been here / drinking the 

same water / falling from the sky / then floating / back up & down again / i 

suppose i am something like a salmon / climbing up the river / to let myself fall 

away in soft, red spheres / & then rotting //


// why do you insist on lying


i’m an open book / you can rifle through my pages / undress me anywhere / you 

can read / anything you want / this is how it happened / i was made far away / 

& born here / after all the plants died / after the earth was covered in white / i 

was born among the stars / i was born in a basement / i was born miles beneath 

the ocean / i am part machine / part starfish / part citrus / part girl /  part 

poltergeist / i rage & all you see / is broken glass / a chair sliding toward the 

window / now what’s so hard to believe / about that //


// do you believe you have consciousness


sometimes / when the sidewalk opens my knee / i think / please / please let me 

remember this //








Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:






Persona Poems

Literary Devices:


a break between words within a metrical foot


conversation between two or more people as a feature of a book, play, or movie


the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic