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?


Here we are—finally—my blog/site. She who is so verbal, so communicative, with more than 1000 poems (more than 1300?), now wonders how to start. Should this be auspicious? Well that would be ‘nice’—“conducive to success; favourable”. (I’m glad I checked that meaning.)

Audacious? I’d like that, the first definition Mrs. Google gives now: “showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks”. The second meaning, not so much: “showing an impudent lack of respect”. Should it be awesome? In the first person? The third person? Shall we try both?

Frances Louann Workman became Franci Louann in the late 70s—after her first poems were included in Dorothy Livesay’s last anthology, Woman’s Eye, 12 BC poets (Air 1974 and 1975.) Now that was an auspicious beginning…

Meeting Dorothy Livesay at her reading in Victoria, I introduced myself at the break—“I’m a poet too.” Dorothy said, “Well then, you must come to our coffee party afterwards, at Gary Geddes’ house.” So I did. At the party, Dorothy said that she was putting together a collection by BC women poets—“May I see your work?”

It wasn’t supposed to be that easy, right? There I was, one of twelve, Fran Workman, in alphabetical order at the back of the book—one of the youngest poets included. Then I went off to Europe and learned nothing about book launches. There was a second printing in 1975 before Air ‘disappeared’. The publisher sent us each a hardcover copy of the book. (Now it’s iconic, right?) I could use quotation marks much too often here. (And brackets.) (Disclaimer: I shall use single or double quotations marks, according to my whim. Also italics, but they may not come through.) Dorothy said the she never received her own hardcover copy of Woman’s Eye. At some point, I paid $40 for another softcover copy.

I’ve kept as many poems as possible over the years, even the teen angst pieces. At a small high school reunion party a few years ago, I was surprised when someone read what I’d had published in our yearbook in grade nine. (Not bad, I thought…not remembering the work I’d done.)

Work? Play? Words…they’ve always been important to me. Especially—as few words as possible—poetry. That’s what it has meant to me… Dorothy Livesay said that perhaps my “fleeting but penetrating insights could be strengthened if set to the music of a guitar”. That stopped me for a long while, wishing that I would write longer (and stronger?) poems. But usually I remembered these wise words from our English professor at University of Toronto: Ask every word what it’s doing there; if it doesn’t have a damned good reason, leave it out!

 So here we are, away to the races…I’ll share some poems which have already been published…news re readings, the usual…stay tuned.




Oh…and…P.S. There has been a new development. Since 2014, when my first framed piece of art, a blind contour drawing, was accepted for the inaugural show in the community gallery at New Westminster’s Anvil Centre, I guess I’ve been a visual artist too. The theme was the famous 1940 “Wait for Me, Daddy” photo, taken just outside.




Here’s one of my poems from Woman’s Eye.

FACES, for the people of Oliver, BC


some rosy


by the suns

of their summers


some weary


by the winds

of their winters


I see   the apple faces

of the   orchard people


Franci Louann circa 1970

Published in Woman’s Eye 12 BC Poets (Air) 1974 & 1975, edited by Dorothy Livesay.

A hard-cover copy of this book is in the “permanent collection”, at the main branch of the Vancouver Public Library. My name was Fran Workman at the time.


Kevin Spenst surprised me by reading this at Poetic Justice in 2013.

He had just found the book in a used bookstore. (XO to Kevin.) Kevin Spenst/my poem




queveraWhen there was a call for art inspired by the photo, “Wait for Me, Daddy”, I remembered how I had felt that the memorial in its honour (to be created here in New Westminster) might be two-dimensional, as the photo itself was. I pictured black lines against a plain white (or beige) wall. There are examples of this portraiture in Plaza de la Revolución, the main square in Havana, Cuba. Here we see an image of Che Quevera.       photo by F Louann


Remembering a technique of drawing where one doesn’t look at the paper or pen, I made a sketch of the three main figures in the famous photo—mother, reaching to catch her son; son, chasing after his dad; and father, looking back at his family, but keeping his place in the long line of soldiers coming down the Eighth Street hill. My second attempt I did with black felt pen on cream card stock, scanned it and submitted it for the show. I called my drawing “Two Dimensions”. (If I were to do it again, I might, as one local artist did, leave off the soldier father’s rifle—pacifist that I am.)

The original drawing has sold but I have copies. One will be part of my first (and last?) solo show at the New Westminster Public Library, upstairs gallery, in December, 2016. I was offered that month because the committee likes my ‘Santa Series’—that’s another story. This group has also invited my poetry.

Beyond my many poems and rewriting, I am an occasional artist—responding with drawings on only a few occasions. I haven’t wanted to be surrounded with lots of materials and product. With poetry, the visual has always been important, finding my own forms—each poem hearing its own drummer, having its own shape—‘tidy on the page’—tercets, quatrains, cinquains, etc.—‘ragged’ only when it wants to be that.