Photo of Franny Choi
By Audrey Davis-Brand (B ’26)
Featured on NPR’s 2022 “Books We Love” list, New York Times featured author Franny Choi is visiting the Newcomb Institute. Recipient of the Princeton Holmes National Poetry Prize, Choi is the author of three poetry collections: The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2022), Soft Science (Alice James Books, 2019) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing, 2014).
The event will take place on the Uptown campus on Monday, October 23rd, from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM in the Diboll Gallery of the Newcomb Institute, inside the thrid follor of the Malkin Sacks Commons. Choi will read a selection of their poetry, which will be followed by a Q & A session and book signing.
Choi’s newest collection, The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On, explores their experiences during the early 2020s, the pandemic, and the anti-racist insurgence, while thinking about the future and imagining other paths. Choi wrote the poem The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On after the 2016 election when they tried to stay hopeful but felt the world was headed in a bad direction. The rest of the collection includes poems about other times Choi has felt or feels like the world will end – in the past, present, and future.
In an interview with Sarah Neilson, a writer for Shondaland, Choi spoke about both their and their partner’s identities, and how this helped Choi to choose which poem they would use as a title for the book.
“My partner is Black and trans, and both of our lineages are horrific, world-ending, dystopian realities that our people have survived,” says Choi. “So, I think that this idea that following the end of the world, there’s always another chapter that then opens, I think it gives me … hope is not exactly it; that sounds like a corny word to say. But when I say that that gives me hope, what I mean is that it reminds me that the future is unknowable, and so my inclination as like a little, tiny-brained human being to say it’s the end of everything, it must be the end of the world, is actually like a small, uninformed version of the endless possibilities that anything might open.”
“For the past 24 years, the Florie Gale Arons Poetry Program has brought a distinguished poet to campus for a poetry reading and workshop,” says Laura Wolford, Associate Director and Director of Operations at Newcomb Institute. “The program was established by the daughters of Florie Gale Arons (NC ’50) in 1999 in honor of their mother’s 70th birthday, and its legacy of bringing innovative poets to campus is truly remarkable. It’s truly a joy to learn from these artists and to bring together people around these poets and their work.”
Choi graduated from Brown University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Literary Arts and Ethnic Studies. They went on to the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, where they obtained a Master of Fine Arts in poetry along with a post-graduate fellowship. In addition to writing poetry, Choi has been a finalist in multiple poetry slams and taught various students through organizations such as Project VOICE and schools. They have also authored plays and worked to magnify the voices of LGBTQIA+ and Asian American, and Pacific Islander poets.