Poet Vievee Francis visits the University Club

By Michaella Lesieur, Staff Writer

On Thursday, April 13, students and faculty gathered together to welcome special guest poet Vievee Francis.

Francis read portions from her award winning book, Forest Primeval, as part of the English Department’s Living Literature Series.

Francis was born in West Texas and studied at the University of Michigan, she is also an associate professor here at UMass Dartmouth.

Forest Primeval was written in 2015 and just recently took home the award winning title for the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award Winner 2017.

However, she has written several other books, which include Horse in the Dark (2011), Blue-tail fly (2006) and is currently working on her fourth.

The University Club filled to capacity beginning at 4 p.m. as guests enjoyed coffee and cookies while listening to Francis as she read poems from her most recent book.

This reading included famous excerpts such as: “All kinds of Howling,” “Keys,” and “Skinned.”

Senior English major Christina Musser enjoyed the reading and Francis’s presence on stage.

“I loved the imagery used in Vievee’s poetry and how the ideas she conveyed about her own past were universal.”

She talked about how her move to the mountains was terrifying given that she is more of a hotel kind of woman than someone who enjoys camping.

It was her move to the mountains, filled with forests and bears, that inspired her to write this book.

Furthermore, she noted how the book, which itself took the shape of a fairytale, proved to be significant. It was stated that her father loved fairytales which is what gave her another idea.

There was one poem that stood out as being the one that was most “delightful,” meaning as she was inspired by an unplanned phone call from a friend.

It resembled the message of how one single word can set the word soaring into the world and make all the difference in someone’s day.

As it opened up “from a morning without expectation…,” Francis welcomed her audience into the experience of that moment with her.

Soon after the reading, Francis opened up the room for a question and answers segment that sent multiple hands flying in the air.

Students were able to learn more about her and her poetry, and how they too can write about their own life stories.

She also enjoys reading other people’s works, which includes books by authors such as Scottish poet Andrew Lang and American poet Adrienne Rich.

Currently, one topic that is of great interest to her is on women’s issues and she feels that women are under great pressure right now.

She also noted that events such as these are beneficial in expanding one’s learning.

“I would definitely attend other events such as these,” said Musser.

“I love being active in the English department and interacting with other English majors, minors, professors, and writers. It’s a great way to take learning out of the classroom.”

Photo Courtesy: Umassd.edu


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