The Speculative Lyric: Alternate Universes and Imagined Freedoms

with Franny Choi

Monday, June 19, 2017 7:00pm to Monday, June 26, 2017 9:00pm
Asian American Writers' Workshop
112 W 27th Street, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10001

Media Gallery

Two Sessions, 2 hours each (7-9pm)
Mondays June 19th & June 26th

Fees & Payment Options: $100 General / $80 AAWW Members (Become a Member!)

Full payment due before first class. Maximum of fifteen students.

*STUDENT RATE for limited seats, contact Tracy Wong at for availability!*

In the introduction to the anthology Octavia’s Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, Walidah Imarisha writes: “Whenever we try to envision a world without war, without violence, without prisons, without capitalism, we are engaging in speculative fiction. All organizing is science fiction.” In this workshop, we will use principles of sci-fi to explore ways to engage in the speculative mode in poetry. We will conduct experiments in imagining alternate universes, talk about utopias and dystopias, and discuss what distinct possibilities the lyric can offer us in the project of envisioning freedom.


Franny Choi is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody, 2014), which the providence Phoenix called “a thin, muscular book crackling with energy.” She has been a finalist for multiple national poetry slams and has received fellowships from Kundiman and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. Her work has been featured by the Huffington Post and PBS NewsHour, and her poems have appeared in Poetry Magazine, The Poetry Review, the Indiana Review, and elsewhere. She is a Project VOICE teaching artist and a member of the Dark Noise Collective for multidisciplinary artists of color. She is currently an MFA Candidate in the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers’ Program, and her chapbook Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press) is forthcoming.

One of the things I admire most about Franny Choi’s work is the questions she asks. With her book Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody, 2014), she asks questions about power, about the fluidity and intersectionality of identity, about the many shapes that grief takes when it comes to visit, and about how it feels to perceive and be perceived by the world, amongst others. [...] Funny, heartbreaking, and unpretentiously intelligent.

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