Poet Vievee Francis visits campus, reads from latest book

Poet Vievee Francis reads her works to a packed auditorium on Nov. 28 in the Park Library Auditorium.

The Charles V. Park Library Auditorium reached full capacity with eager individuals spilling into the hallway Nov. 28 to listen to poems from Vievee Francis’s recent book "Forest Primeval."

Francis was brought to Central Michigan University as part of one of four readers in the Meijer Visiting Writers Series.

Robert Fanning, English Language and Literature faculty member began the event by giving an introduction for Francis which included background of her work and how they met when they were both working in Detroit. 

“She has made me not only a better poet, but a better human being," Fanning said. 

Francis said she would be reading poems off from her third book, "Forest Primeval" which she was inspired to write after her husband came home one day insisting they move to the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Francis said she doesn’t consider her poems to be delightful because she draws from subjects focusing primarily on loss and mourning.

One poem in particular, "Falling" is about Francis’ challenging relationship with her father growing up.

"The daddy-daughter relationship would not be where it is today if it weren’t for us putting in so much effort throughout the years," Francis said.

A poem that was of popularity amongst the audience was "Beauty and the Beast."

"Beauty and the Beast", tells the tale of the first date Francis had with her now husband. 

"He referred to me as beauty and I told him 'I’m not beauty, I’m the beast and you’re beauty,'" she said.

Emily Ramsdell, a sophomore from Tawas, Michigan said she enjoyed the poem "Beauty and the Beast."

“I thought it was beautiful emotion coming from a deeper place within,” Ramsdell said. 

Melinda McGhan, a sophomore from Lansing attended the reading and described Francis' work as "capturing the raw sense of beauty."

Francis said she considers most poets to be public writers, which is why she had written most of these works in public locations such as coffee shops.

Concluding the reading, Francis thanked CMU and the "family of readers and writers" in attendance.

"I can not tell you what it means to me to be reading in Michigan, the place I consider home,” she said. 


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