June 16, 2020

Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts selects Poet Franny Choi for Holmes National Poetry Prize

Poet Franny Choi has been selected as the latest recipient of the Theodore H. Holmes ’51 and Bernice Holmes National Poetry Prize awarded by the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing at Princeton University.

The Holmes National Poetry Prize was established in memory of Princeton 1951 alumnus Theodore H. Holmes and is presented each year to a poet of special merit as selected by the faculty of the Creative Writing Program, which includes writers Michael Dickman, Aleksandar Hemon, A.M. Homes, Christina Lazaridi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Yiyun Li, Paul Muldoon, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Kirstin Valdez Quade, Susan Wheeler, Monica Youn, and a number of distinguished lecturers. The award, currently carrying a prize of $5,000, was first made to Mark Doty in 2011 and has since also been awarded to Evie Shockley, Natalie Diaz, Matt Rasmussen, Eduardo Corral, Solmaz Sharif, and Jenny Xie.

franny with black hair glasses in denim jacket floral shirt

Award-winning writer Franny Choi, recipient of the Holmes National Poetry Prize from Princeton University’s Program in Creative Writing. Photo by Graham Cotten.

Franny Choi is the author of two poetry collections, Soft Science (Alice James Books) and Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody Publishing), as well as a chapbook, Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). A Kundiman Fellow and graduate of the University of Michigan’s Helen Zell Writers Program, she co-hosts the podcast VS alongside fellow Dark Noise Collective member Danez Smith, who was recently named a Princeton Arts Fellow for 2020-22. Choi teaches at Williams College as a Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Franny Choi,” said Jhumpa Lahiri, Director of the Program in Creative Writing, “a poet whose dazzling and necessary poems challenge and celebrate notions of identity, race, and sexuality, through lightning-hot lyric poems that strike sparks.” 

To learn more about the Lewis Center for the Arts and the Program in Creative Writing, visit

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