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 four collections of poems, Franci initiates and organizes poetry reading groups in New Westminster and Vancouver, runs an email list to support the events, and serves as the Resident Poet at some of the cool coffee shops. She also co-founded Poetic Justice, a weekly reading event in New Westminster.
Franci’s poems have won prizes. Her first poem was written when she was twelve. The title was BIG SAVINGS AT CALVARY (I still always shout my titles, Franci warns us). She was soon to be confirmed as a Lutheran, and so she wrote about ‘Calvary’, and you may very well be disappointed but it has no reference to savings, or other shopping tips, in Alberta. 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 will likely 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.’
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. Now I can easily fill a page, but/and prefer that as a maximum length. Otherwise I create a series, or have numbered parts appear on different pages.’
What are you working on now?
‘Now I’m preparing for summer readings. My theme for Poetry in the Park on July 11 will be England and my father and his family. Also I have in mind some submissions, but I’m much less disciplined there. Probably one half of my almost 1000 poems are ‘in progress’ and I invite you to workshop with me.’
When did you start your own press, and why?
‘Recently I was surprised to learn that I had started Horse of Course Press in 2006. One book was produced that year. Two books have their ISBNs. Why did I start it? I don’t remember.’
Anything about your self-publishing experience? Would you recommend it to other poets?
‘I don’t enjoy self-publishing, would much rather email books than make them up. Apparently I relish less the idea of queries to publishers. Love it when they knock on the door. Wait, that happened only once.’
You have an email list for poetry news. When and why did you begin that?
‘My poetry email info list was started maybe ten years ago, to ‘spread the word’. In 2007 it won me The World Poetry Reading Series Volunteer Media Award, a little trophy which I treasure. This was a great surprise.’
Are you a member of any writers’ groups, if so, which ones?
‘My regular writing group meets at Waves Monday mornings, 10 till noon. I persuaded Ruth Kozak to come out to mentor us at $5 a drop-in. Many of our members have had their recent writing published. I love to workshop and welcome people to join me at my ‘poetry desk’, which was offered to me at the nearby Moody Park Wellness Centre.’
You are a writer-in-residence for local business. Could you name them?
‘Yes, I’m Poet-in-Residence at the Moody Park Wellness Centre and also at the Coming Home Café on 6th St. at Hamilton. I like to meet people for breakfast at the CHC. I gave the owner a poem and copies of it are posted on the bulletin board at the back.’
When did you come to Vancouver?
‘From South-Western Ontario, I came to Vancouver in 1968.’
What other countries/cities you have lived in?
‘In the 70’s I spent more than six months in Britain and Europe. In ’07-’08 my partner and I spent six months in Buenos Aires.’
Anything you like to share from your personal life?
‘Personal? I had a long and satisfactory career as a dental hygienist.’
Following are the titles of Franci’s books, and how to order them
Beach Cardiology, Lipstick Press, $8 ($10 mailed)
Poems on Poems—55 lessons learned, Wild Horses—45 poems ten lines or fewer, and The Perfectly Punctuated Poetry Portfolio—my poems from Douglas College, are published by Horse of Course Press, $5 each for an electronic copy, $10 for the print edition.
To order, send Franci Louann a message at:
At the July 27 meeting of Surrey Muse, Franci will present a selection from her published poems.
For more on Surrey Muse gatherings
Surrey Muse 2012 Program
Contact surrey Muse