Franci Louann, born in Stratford as Frances Louann Workman, is a poet who comes across as being unconditionally committed to the development of poetry and poetics. The author of ‘innumerable’ collections of poems (some manuscripts published), Franci has initiated and organized poetry reading groups in the Vancouver area for many years. In 2010 she co-founded Poetic Justice, a weekly event in New Westminster. Find more information about these Sunday afternoon events at www.poeticjustice.ca.
Franci’s poems have won prizes. Her first was written when she was twelve. Her last award was Honourable Mention (2nd prize of two) in the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in 2013. A mild and beautiful spirit runs through her person and her poetry. So, if you ask her something like ‘What moved you to become a poet?’, you may get this delicacy for an answer: ‘Poetry I saw as a way to put an important thought in a package and put a ribbon on it.’
Some more questions and answers
What moves you to write a poem?
‘Emotion makes me write poetry. It can be so varied—for example, a response to injustice, another’s well-written poem or a life well-lived.’
What is your most favourite form in poetry that you use the most when writing?
‘Just call me ‘Franci Freestyle’. Each poem hears its own drummer. I tend to make things tidy on the page, unless something else (a ragged form) seems appropriate. Seldom do my poems dangle in the middle of a page.’
Do you see ‘stages’ in your poetry over the years, either in form or content?
‘Most of my short poems (ten lines or fewer) were written in the 70’s and 80’s. Some of these appeared in Dorothy Livesay’s last anthology, Woman’s Eye—12 BC poets (Air, 1974-75). Now I can easily fill a page. I prefer one page as a maximum length. Otherwise I usually create a series, or have numbered parts appear on different pages.’
What are you working on now?
‘I have several manuscripts underway. For example, Whatever Happened to Fran Workman? This could be answered with sub-titles: (1) Ten Lines or Fewer (2) Retro (spective) or (3) In Argentina. Or Whatever Happened, etc could be a sub-title for three different works.’
When did you start your own press, and why?
‘Horse of Course Press was a name that I couldn’t resist in 2006. One manuscript was produced that year. Two chapbooks have their ISBNs. I’m bored with self-publishing. Love it when publishers ‘knock on my door’. It has happened.’
You have an email list for poetry news?
‘I started that about ten years ago and was awarded a volunteer media award from World Poetry in 2007. My netbook’s email program has been protesting about it, so it is inactive at this time.’
Are you a member of writers’ groups?
‘At this time I am not exactly an active participant. I don’t need more prompts but need the time to manage what I have – to rewrite poems and create manuscripts. There is a banker’s box here which may be half full of new half-poems, never typed in. I love to proof prose, edit poetry and am available as a mentor.’
Are you a writer-in-residence?
‘Not formally, at the moment. I have been this in some locations around town and certainly on other continents—in Argentina, Australia and Portugal.’
When did you come to Vancouver?
‘From SW Ontario, I came in 1968.’
Have you lived in other countries?
‘In the 70s I was more than six months in Britain and Europe. In 07-08 my partner and I spent six months in Buenos Aires. I have almost 150 poems about Argentina. That’s my largest collection on one theme.’
Would you like to share anything personal?
‘Personal? I had a long and satisfactory career as a dental hygienist.’
Publications: Beach Cardiology, Lipstick Press (2010); Franci Louann’s poems have appeared in many fine anthologies.
To order books from Horse of Course Press, contact Franci Louann at
firstname.lastname@example.org for a list of titles.
At the November 28 Surrey Muse event, Franci Louann will present a selection from her recent poems.
For more on Surrey Muse gatherings
Surrey Muse Program
Contact surrey Muse