My next book is here.

Franci Louann’s Argentina Two / Uruguay Too / Cuba Tambien is a delightful follow up to her earlier Argentina poesia. This volume is a rich, playful but serious romp through her travel adventures in three Latino cultures. Louann creates a hybrid form she calls poemoirs. Through her use of “Spanglish”, readers will find themselves awakening inside another language. The pleasures of wine and exotic food merge with politics, social commentary, and intimate interconnections with friends and strangers. Louann’s poems invite us to taste, touch, smell, hear, and see more deeply our ca­pacity for intercommunion. The secular and the sacred become as one: “no soy católica / but somehow / it’s about godliness / Sunday morning / in the cathedral’s souvenir shop.”

—Susan McCaslin, poet and author of Heart Work

Argentina Two / Uruguay Too / Cuba Tambien offers a study of moments in verse, bringing the tiny, everyday moments of its locales into photographic focus. Exploring with an outsider’s eyes, Franci Louann finds meaning and insight hidden in the details of the storied and seemingly mundane alike. Readers will learn the importance of the colour of ice cream, the busywork behind recycling, the angles which drive pedestrians, and the difference a quarter can make to the quality of your coffee. This is not only a travelogue resounding through history, but an instructional guide to seeing the little things in the wider world through the eyes of an artist.

—Kyle Hawke, poet and author of whispers of humanity

Franci Louann’s new collection of poetry Argentina Two / Uruguay Too / Cuba Tambien has an im­mediacy and intimacy to it that is felt throughout every line and in every word. As she explores travel, friendship, politics and her own inner dialogue she brings storytelling to life in shining and delicious detail. Franci writes on a breadth of topics, from romance to the enjoyment of wine and cherished encounters with compadres and strangers throughout her exploration of culture, time and place. Franci takes moments and expands them into galaxies of verse, that invite her readers in to stay awhile beneath the warmth of a Spanglish sun.

—Elliott Slinn, New Westminster’s Poet Laureate 2021 – 2024

Franci Louann lives and writes in New Westminster, BC, which she calls “Qayqaytland”, to honour the First Peoples there. Born Frances Louann Workman, she was first published as Fran Workman, in Dorothy Livesay’s last anthology, Woman’s Eye: 12 BC poets (Air, 1974). In 2010 Lipstick Press published Franci Louann’s Beach Cardiology. Franci co-founded Poetic Justice in New Westminster in 2010. A branch which became Poets Corner continues in Vancouver. Franci co-managed Spoken Word Open Mic monthly at Braid Stage, l00 Braid Street Studios. This series was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Argentina Two, Uruguay Too, Cuba Tambien is part of a series of books of poetry by Franci Louann. The manuscripts here include her poems which feature her “Spanglish.” They are poemoirs, or rapportage about travel experiences.

Available for purchase online via paypal at

Contact Ekstasis for details or to arrange appearances, events or media opportunities.

For further information: Richard Olafson or Carol Sokoloff phone & fax: (250) 385-3378



Charlie Henry Workman (1897-1976) ~ The Unspoken

Charlie Henry Workman (1897-1976) ~ The Unspoken is a memoir that reports on the circumstances of the Charlie Henry Workman’s immigration to Canada as an orphan in the British “home children” program of the early twentieth century. Not well historicized and for many years “unspoken”, the practice of sending orphans to Canada once served as a source for child labour for settler farmers. Louann combines her accounts with two poems which evocatively honour his story and life.

Franci Louann describes and reads from The Unspoken in THIS VIDEO that was recorded at a Reading the Migration Library event during Art Book Month, on October 8, 2020.

Book Launch!

Argentina poesía by Franci Louann

$24.95: Available from

Vancouver stores: Renaissance Books (604) 525-4566, New Westminster; and Western Sky Books (604) 461-5602; Port Coquitlam. Call before going to check that my book is in stock.


Franci Louann’s Argentina poesía is a travel diary transformed by kaleidoscopic language. From the very first page, Argentina bursts into life in poems dripping with colours, fragrances, sensations. If you have not travelled to this vast country, these poems will take you there. e swirl of words, intense and provocative, is mitigated with peals of laughter, ironic reflections, and gentle affirmations. To be sure, Louann’s Argentina, where the and muggings are just around the corner, is not a perfect place. Yet joyous friendship, little kindnesses, good food and conversation, light up each poem. In Louann’s trenchant poetic universe, living is not reasoned into place: it simply is.
—Robert Martens, poet, writer, editor;
little creatures, Hush, city of beasts (Ekstasis)

Franci Louann’s book captures the unique and sensuous qualities of Argentina and its cities. It gives the reader the view of an outsider looking through eyes of love – personal and cultural – but clear-sighted about dark political histories and present complexities, and the difficulties gaining knowledge of how to live in a new land. In Louann’s poetry, we hear the music, taste the wine, read the authors, and enjoy the artists and architects of this place, while we take up residence and wander its streets, grand and humble.
—Adrienne Drobnies, Salt and Ashes (Signature Editions) Gwendolyn MacEwen Award

Franci Louann’s love of Spanish and the locales in and around Buenos Aires raises this collection to the status of a “palo borracho, a tree full of giant flowers.” With leitmotifs of wine, street life, and relationships from a song that grows bilingually, Argentina poesía explores what makes up the patterns of our heartbeats. Rarely does a book so perfectly capture and express its author’s growing worldview. By the end of the book, aer we’ve read poems written in both English and Spanish, we see how it is that someone can write the script for their dreams and how “at the orchid store they are filling a taxi with flowers.”
—Kevin Spenst, author, poet, teacher;
Hearts Amok: a memoir in verse (Anvil Press)

Sample poem:


I remember a Sunday
with family, after pizza

Bosques de Palermo
the Palermo Woods

Lagos de Palermo
three lakes

the zoo
botanical and Japanese gardens

we have photos
against gnarled and

sprawling trees
the lungs of Buenos Aires

—Franci Louann, from Argentina poesía
Ekstasis Editions 2020


First, here are photos of me doing some readings. (Sorry about the layout here. Oh, it’s better at the bottom. I’ll leave those there instead. Duh. )

Honing my craft as a poet was always important, since my English class in first year Dental Hygiene at the University of Toronto. I had submitted a (probably pathetic) ballad-style poem to her (no one seems to remember her name) and she gave me this advice.



This is one of my shortest poems, and definitely my longest title. With it, I came 4th in the 1st round of a Poetry Slam at Café Deux Soleils on June 7, 2010 (Mom’s birthday). In the 2nd round, I maintained my 4th place with “THE THREE Rs OF POETRY”.  Got a prize. There is/was a Poetic Justice/Facebook/YouTube video of me/this poem, also one at LitFest, along with other tiny poems.

There I am, still preferring to “shout” my titles. In full capital letters, bolded even. Almost all of them. Do other poets vary how they create their titles? I know it might depend on the publication’s guidelines. I’d like for my titles to be different from the texts of the poems, in some ways. Maybe my titles have been distracting or annoying for some judges or editors. How best not to distract or annoy? I’ll stop bolding them.

I still like Arial font, for its simplicity. Why use a serif, when a non-serif letter will do? Well, Calvin Wharton told me why, and he was a typesetter. If you type the word “ill”, for example, with a capital “I” – “Ill” is hard to read. (Is that first letter really wider?)

These days, while I’m rewriting, I’m asking lots of punctuation what it’s doing there.

For decades I was not using periods in my poems. Now I’m still embracing a “new kind of narrative”, which I see/hear is popular. Who’d have thought that I might find periods “refreshing”, along with some capital where appropriate?

Incredibly, while at Douglas College studying poetry (Introduction in 2011 with Liz Bachinsky, Advanced in 2015 with Calvin Wharton) I did not question their “GPS” (Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling) rule as applied to poetry. Perhaps my sarcasm (or subtle passive-aggressiveness) was not recognized when I produced my Perfectly Punctuated Poetry Portfolio as a chapbook at the end of the first course. Such a publication was not required till the end of the second course. It was halfway through that term that I realized that they meant to have different “rules” for poetry. Perhaps that syllabus has been rewritten.

These days I’m not banning periods. But I am removing many ellipses, some of which have been used improperly, I confess. They are “three periods” each.

I’m also deleting many of my “long, sexy em dashes”, of which I have been quite fond.

After all, I am not Emily Dickinson, though I admire her work greatly. Her very long (hand-written) dashes went sometimes up and other times down. She was light years ahead of her time and maybe even ahead of us now. We still don’t have symbols on our keyboards for her dashes. “Forward slash” and backward slash” just won’t do.

Yes, I’m removing exclamation marks, those “screamers”. Thank you, my friends.

And I’ve been removing lots of white space, where I’ve had three or five spaces. Most times I’m adding a comma instead. Horrors? I do resist having commas dangle on the ends of lines. That use of white space seems to be enough. Commas? (We poets do still need to sweat over those?)

What about self-publications? Our little chapbooks. I’ve made quite a few. I plan to purchase one of those long staplers so I can do more myself. Or maybe I’ll let Bryan at Royal City Mail do more of the work. Or maybe I’ll never ever self-publish again. There were so few copies made, perhaps they shouldn’t count at all. Perhaps I’ll consider those to be early drafts of submissions to publishers, and rethink them a lot.

I give publishing credits on the same pages as my single poems, as a way of tracking. Also, this year, I have started a spreadsheet. (Oh, Franci, Don’t forget that spreadsheet. I need to learn how to add more lines and columns, as insertions.) But, with these little works with manuscripts made and a few given away or sold, how to be honest about whether these have been self-“published”, and where? Should I search for each poem title, before making a submission? Perhaps I should consult with my mentors at Douglas College about that.

What do you think? Have you written about your own style of poetics and how it might be changing? When you make a submission, do you consider the style of the poetry judge, or the editor? It seems that many poems could be adapted to other styles. Would you say something about the style in the keywords?

Do you use keywords? I have always signed my single poem files with my name, my email address, and the date the poem was typed in. One summer I started adding keywords to all my poems. That took months. Another ruse to avoid submissions? I did claim to have submission-phobia. Friends expressed surprise and were supportive. That helped for a while.

Also I’ve claimed to have my-own-blog-phobia. But, here we are again, just not as soon as planned. This post is in aid of, or in homage to, Poetry Month – April. It is likely that I’ve mentioned poetry every day this month on Facebook.

Facebook is my blah, blah, blog? What do you think?


It is as though I have stepped into a magazine article. I ask Susana, in my limited castellano (Argentine Spanish, Castilian), and I learn that none has been written. Immediately I have permission to use my camera. I’ve kept thirty-four photos and could have taken many more. (The blog story will continue below these photos.)

Susana is artistic (an understatement) and the home she has built with Jorge is Rusticana. First they built a quincho, meant to be a small house behind a larger one. Susan’s father had helped to clear the lot, with a big saw which now hangs behind their outdoor “porch” table.

Perhaps it was Susan’s decorating (and building) skills that had her & Jorge fall in love with this one-bedroom house. They decided to stay here.

Reclaimed wood is used for cupboards, doors, counters, kitchen bar, tables and triangular foot stools with stretched (goat?) hides. An old treadle sewing machine has become the base for the bathroom sink. The kitchen has several different ovens and a fireplace. Her pottery and tile work appear here and there. Wooden fruit boxes hold books above and around the computer, while four people could sit on the large dark wooden trunks. Susan did all of this in five years.

In the centre of the living room is a huge square table with two chairs on each side. Twelve people could be seated here.

So many photos and still I don’t have the railway tie used for a doorsill, the clock made from a burl, the indoor glass shower, the outdoor shower (which, yes, also has hot water), and the interior of the tool shed. I got a peek at the latter – it was amazingly well-organized. Susana’s “office”, no doubt.

In front of this adorable cottage (after the outdoor shower and the tool shed) we find an outdoor kitchen on a long porch, complete with a sink with running water, a high bar with stools, two stoves, a stereo and a dining table with chairs. One of the stoves is a small antique functioning wood stove complete with a reservoir for heating water. I expect that this oven had just been used to bake our “black sugar” cookies.

We’ve all heard about Susana’s latest project – el horno, the oven – an outdoor wood-burning oven. A friend built the walls and Susana applied the clay covering. It uses gas as well, when more heat is needed to finish the cooking process. A thermometer gauge is imbedded in the front wall. They got the plan off the internet. (I thought that maybe Jorge had built the walls, but my partner assures me that Jorge “couldn’t hammer a nail”. Jorge is absolutely charming and I was pleased to learn that he watches a movie every day on Netflix. This was his reply, when I said I was going to one movie a week in La Plata.)

So with this fabulous wood-burning oven that had just been built, I expected that the amazing aromas were coming from pizza. We were presented with plates full of roast beef, stuffed with ham and cheese and laiden with herbs fresh from their garden. There were roasted red peppers with regular and sweet potatoes, drizzled with a cheese (and some green veggie) salsa. Rosemary and garlic predominated. When my plate arrived, I exclaimed “Yo estoy muerte y en cielo”, meaning (I hoped) “I have died and am in heaven”. As usual, Susana seemed to understand what I said and was pleased.

We had beer and wine, and more available on the outdoor bar. Also on the table and from their garden were preserved eggplant (which we enjoy as table service at Portofino Restobar, our regular hangout near our apartment in La Plata), and long yellow peppers. (The latter were too hot for me.)

Later, along with the homemade black sugar cookies, we enjoyed masas finas (small sweet pastries) which Natalina had purchased that morning. Susan provided a fine herb tea (again from their plants) in a beautiful glass tea pot with an infuser.

The afternoon was a celebration for another Susana, who was leaving for Australia the next day. There she is spending April with her daughter and family. “The Two Susanas” are a bit famous around Villa Elisa. Susana One, the artist, was Enrique’s first wife. (Their daughter is Natalia.) Susana Two, the traveler, is Enrique’s partner now. With Jorge, they are frequently partying together. We had met them at bar-b-qs at Enrique’s. Just the week before this glorious Saturday afternoon, Susana and Jorge had brought whole wheat miga sandwiches to a pizza dinner at Natalina’s. (Natalina is Enrique’s mother and my partner José’s sister. Natalia is Natalina’s granddaughter.) Sadly, I’ve missed a photo of Ruben, Susana One’s handsome brother, who left early.

If fairies do exist, I’m sure some of them have chosen to live in this enchanted garden near City Bell, in the province of Buenos Aires in Argentina.



I resolve to get over my-own-blog phobia.

Duh, it has been more than 3 months since my last entry. Let’s start easily. Some of you may have read this. (More “news” soon.)  WOW & Whew! That worked well. My birthday pictures.



We took the bus to Villa Elisa – ½ hour, see poem. I’ll delete line breaks to save space.


those birds sing   so earnestly   at 4 a.m.

guests for lunch   sisters long separate   peace lilies in a vase

this long green beak   piercing eyes of indigo   orange crown flashing

this bird-of-paradise   this bloom

against grey sky   jacaranda purple   more royal than ever

as we say goodnight   on the sidewalk   two snails kiss

Franci Louann   November 2007

Second Prize, Kisses and Popsicles Contest 2009,

Sent with 2nd set of three poems when deadline was extended.

Published in the Royal City Poets anthology 2012 (Silver Bow Publishing)

Gee, I’d forgotten – I have translated that one into Spanish/castellano.

I felt we could count on Natalina’s family for a good fiesta. I suggested El Boyo restaurant, just across the plaza. Natalia/Naty/Nati? reserved a table for six, for the 8-30 setting. Her dad Enrique and his partner Susana would join us.

Natalina and José prepared lunch for us three. They were cutting a very long piece of beef. Some went to the freezer. Our steaks were grilled on top of the stove. The meat was extraordinarily tender. I asked what cut it was. Lomo, tenderloin, filet mignon! We had enough for seconds. This was served with roasted potatoes and carrots and mixed salad, both with basil, my favourite addition. I felt loved.

By the way, when Natalina or Carmen prepare a meal, I’m usually so overwhelmed, I forget to take a picture. So I have a photo halfway through Natalina’s lunch for me. Yes, of the second serving of lomo.

At El Boyo I ordered pasta – ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach. The sauce was crema with ham and mushrooms. For “appetizers”, someone had ordered deep-fried calamari (there were gorgeous big succulent pieces) and French fries. Stella Artois and Lopez Malbec were our beverages (with water for Natalina).

Susana tipped off the waiter and a tall slice of ice cream cake appeared with a candle for me, when we were done. As people clapped and sang, I got three wishes. (I was thankful that we shared that dessert.)

After dinner, we went back to Natalina’s, where I knew there was a cake in the fridge. It was a huge package that had arrived that afternoon. I was pleased to see that a tall candle was responsible for its height. This was a meringue and raspberry cake with dulce de leche filling, served with cider in tall celebratory glasses. Delicious.

We overnighted with Natalina’s “Sheraton treatment” – she even irons her sheets. For breakfast I enjoyed the rest of my pasta and another piece of birthday cake, before we returned to La Plata.


me gusta La Plata   me encanta La Plata   I love La Plata

with its plazas   its trees, el verde, the green                                 

       linden trees   tilia   la ciudad de los tilos   city of linden blossoms

streets are numbered   avenidas wider

       las diagonales   mas misteriosas   the diagonals, more mysterious

the locals know   walking the diagonals   saves time;

we foreigners   are cautious

       la ciudad de las diagonales   city of diagonals

Plaza Moreno is central   the largest, longer

with its giant cathedral   Italian style   built a century before

Museo de La Plata   dinosaurs from Patagonia

some of world’s best natural history   since 1888

me encanta   La Plata

       Franci Louann   December 22, 2011

Last year my age was evenly divisible by both five and ten. I like to celebrate those days in style, but we just couldn’t do it, as we’d had a death in the family. My sister Mariann’s partner of twenty-five years, Lloyd, had died the year before. Lloyd and I were born in the same year. We had celebrated many birthdays together. He had been generous.

So this year I wanted a “Fiesta Latina” and that’s what we had. Last year was a good year for me. I liked being that age.

Mariann and I are close in age. Next summer, July 16th, she will have that same “evenly divisible by ten” birthday. I hope that we will be able to celebrate in style.

Franci Louann     March 10, 2017

THE 50th BIRTHDAY PARTY – remembered, cinquains

at my fiftieth   spontaneously I invite   everyone born in my year

to join me in an unrehearsed   cancan / chorus line dance

one man, one woman and myself;

I forgot   they both have   “hip issues”—   I don’t mean trendy

this is a touch of mortality   not to be confused   with morbidity

encouraging   humility

Franci Louann   March 29, 2007



Here we are in La Boca, where the tango was born.



the airport crowd—familiar faces surprise us;

our driver, eyes blue-green as a rare lake


spring in Buenos Aires, some cherry blossoms, will there be more?

Recoleta, the artists´ market, our first souvenirs


at Florida and Lavalle the music entrances—why your smile across the crowd?

later, my camera gone


at the internet café, a power failure, my dos pesos refused;

confusion at the bank machine—a man asks, are six hundred pesos ours?


a kiss on Córdoba—young lovers, spring afternoon;

rainy day on Córdoba—that red shirt—half-price? no


Mother´s Day     a young man sleeps in a doorway

at the orchid store, they are filling a taxi with flowers


Avenida de Nueve de Julio   ninth of July, Independence Day;

world’s widest street—strong wind at kiosk—we all pick up post cards


Monument for the Victims of Terrorism by the State

by the wide brown river, where some disappeared


two red umbrellas at Nueve de Julio—we need two green lights to cross;

long hair before us—ebony, brunette and blonde—a ‘shampoo commercial’


jacaranda blossoms—tiny purple trumpets blanket plazas

pigeons hide in dark branches


narrow sidewalks—walking is like the tango

would lessons help?


Franci Louann   October 2007 – March 2008

Argentina   travel   nature   trees    flowers

Argentina’s independence was won on July 9, 1816.

Honourable Mention Kisses and Popsicles (spring) contest 2009,

Sent with 2nd set of three poems, when deadline was extended.