1. Intimacy appears to be a recurring theme throughout Franny Choi’s poems in Soft Science. For example, in her poem, “Solitude,” the speaker tells of a time she jumped into the Narragansett Bay for her birthday, and near the end of the poem, she states, “Now that’s my kind of intimacy — / faceless, salty, / no wondering how my jokes are going over […]” (Choi 70). How does this description of intimacy compare or contrast to the other poems in the section titled “Turing Test_Love” (pages 69-80)? How does it compare/contrast to the rest of the collection, such as poems like “On the Night of the Election,” “I Swiped Right on the Borg,” or “Jaebal”?
  2. The stylistic construction of “Turing Test_Weight” (page 83) differs from the other “Turing Test” entries. The other entries more or less follow a question and answer format, with the questions presented in italics. In this final entry, however, the speaker interrupts her interrogator’s question so that the answer lies in the middle: “//what is (inside each question lies another question — a question of weight. […].) your country of origin” (83). What is the significance of this interruption? Why does Choi choose to do this in her final “Turing Test” entry and not a previous one? Why does the speaker choose to ignore the question and state that “inside each question lies another question” (83)?
  3. The section “Turing Test_Love” offers two poems that tackle the theme of love. How does Choi approach love in “Perihelion: A History of Touch”? What is the significance of constructing the stanzas in blocks, as if they were paragraphs? Additionally, much of the imagery in this poem evokes images of wild nature, as suggested in the subtitles being named after “moons” and the lines written with metaphors like “I hid in his rivers and estuaries” (76). What effect does this imagery have? Does this poem feel more focused on desire, something more tender, or possibly both?
Michelle’s Reading Questions for October 11th

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