Soft Science

Franny Choi. Alice James, $15.95 (100p) ISBN 978-1-938584-99-2
In her second collection, Choi (Floating, Brilliant, Gone) creates an exhilarating matrix of poetry, science, and technology. The speaker states her method at the outset: “you start with// what you know / hands, hair, bones, sweat / then move toward what you know /// you are// not / animal, monster, alien, bitch.” Poems riff on the work of British mathematician Alan Turing, whose 20th-century tests for the limits of machine thinking set artificial intelligence into motion: “The scientist called me hard, and I softened my smile. The scientist called me / soft, and I broke sentences to prove him wrong and what and what did I prove / then did I.” These poems demolish known and weary binaries: “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.” Porn sites, tweets, chat rooms, and machine translations abound as Choi questions identity and consciousness in a world full of artificial intelligence, achieving in queer lyric form the most ambitious dream of A Cyborg Manifesto, Donna Haraway’s 1985 work that undergirds the collection: to speak what Haraway calls “a powerful infidel heteroglossia.” (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/19/2019
Release date: 04/01/2019
Genre: Poetry
Open Ebook - 100 pages - 978-1-948579-55-1
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