Wasn’t that a talent launch?

Uptown Unplugged had its largest crowd so far on the Royal City plaza at 6th & 6th, from noon to 2 today. I told ‘some of you’ about Emma Toth…words may fail me here, but stay with me, please..

Five years ago, when Emma was nine, Eileen Kernaghan directed her parents to me as a tutor for writing. Most of our time together, we tried to finish Emma’s short stories. Sometimes we talked about poetry. Emma & her family (all delightful) came to Poetic Justice, where Emma presented her poems on open mic.

Over the years, I saw them now & then at various local open mics. This summer I made it down to the Old Crow on Front St for their very popular open mic, which has been held on third or fourth Thursdays. Fourteen-year-old Emma surprised me as she presented two songs that she had written herself, accompanying herself on guitar!

Her maturity astonished me.

Shortly after that I made sure that they knew about Songwriters Open Mic, first Tuesdays in the Heritage Grill Back Room. I’m not a regular, but knowing they planned to go, I went & got us a corner table. Emma’s name was late on the schedule…usually performers do two songs…Emma was indecisive. “New Rule”- those under fifteen could do three songs if they wanted to. To use a cliche, Emma brought the house down. Mom Jody (Jodie?) introduced me as Emma’s ‘poetry tutor’ (or was it ‘mentor’?). My jaw dropped even further. Emma had written thirty songs already.

I was told of Emma’s two-hour gig at Uptown Unplugged today. Front row seat for me, please… The host & setup man, Randy, said it was the largest crowd. I was pleased that Eileen & Pat Kernaghan could join us. Emma’s dad, Paul, said after that he hoped I’d heard myself in Emma’s work. I said, no. NO. I’m more in awe than anyone and so thrilled that this (adorable) talented family remembers me this way.

Big happy face here.


Photo credit…

It should be here somewhere…Juergen Bruhns surprised me with this favourite banner photo, taken the day of the Anvil Centre opening in 2014. (Well, I did ‘pose’ apparently…)

It was a busy afternoon for me. First I was reading poetry in the opening program here, then ‘rushing’ down Columbia St to feature at Poetic Justice, then back to catch more of the activities in the Anvil Centre.

At the same time, my first framed piece of art (in my Introduction below) was part of the show in the Community Gallery on the third floor.

I know, I know…you might want to see more photos in my gallery…more poetry… Patience, please… For a long time I was in the habit of posting published poems in my Facebook Notes section. You might find them there.

Oh here’s one…I just learned today that this poem was published in the spring… First a disclaimer. I don’t mean that we should all be poets. I guess it’s a message to those of us who _are_ poets, to ‘go there’. Hopefully I can avoid those blank lines in future, the double-spacing.


written in Janet Vickers’ Workshop: Poetry & Prayer—

on developing & discovering our own unique spirituality

be the

delicate vibrations

of the string


be the

powerful percussion

of the drum


be the

trembling hand

of the poet


be the listener

the channel

let the muse visit


be the scribe

the messenger


be brave

be     the poet!

 Franci Louann flouann@telus.net October 25, 2008

at BC Unitarian Fall Gathering at Simon Fraser University

Published in spring 2016 issue of The Canadian Unitarian, popularly known as “CanU”, the national newsletter of the Canadian Unitarian Council. Issues are published twice a year (spring and fall), and sent (online) to members of CUC member congregations.

It’s been a long day. I went early to the Douglas College bookstore for some favourite file covers with pockets, to help organize my efforts here, re submissions & applications. Tonight we had a longish session for Poetry in the Park, in the gallery. Many open mic poets were brilliant. My poem was well-received – “MY RELATIONSHIP WITH ROBERT LOWELL, or, When I was Asked to Read at Oxford”. Yes, it’s funny.

Features at our last PIP were Renee Saklikar & Wade Compton. Renee was more delicious than ever. Wade I’d been waiting to meet for a long time. They have worked on projects together, so bounced off each other nicely. Wade & Jonina Kirton are writing together a production about James & Amelia Douglas – what a delightful surprise for me! Just yesterday, when too late for the bookstore, I’d visited the Amelia Douglas gallery upstairs at Douglas College & thought about the lives of that couple. Can hardly wait for that work to arrive. No wonder my dear friend Jonina is so busy… She has advised me on a manuscript idea, which sadly went to a back burner. I have a title…

And so, good night, poets & non-poets…



SANTA 1 RED SCAN_20141226_220046470

This might be my most popular Christmas card image, as it’s RED. A friend chose it to make laminated posters for me. She was so excited about my show at the library in December. However, my ‘best seller’ has been the multi-colour metallic. It is #6, the final blind contour drawing, and I was much freer by this time, having ‘warmed up’ with the others, all in different colours. Was hoping this (red) image would ‘show up’ on the blog…

You must know, I’m new at blogging. Shall have a tutorial in September. Meanwhile I have imposed upon myself some scary deadlines, related to poetry, which is where my heart is… Yes, I like to leave a little bit of my ‘heart’ on each page…even if it is just an appreciation of my subject matter.

Woke up at 4 a.m. with a title that was escaping me last night. Good morning, afternoon or evening, as the case may be, dear reader.




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 flouann@telus.net 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.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyuJHVbFJ0g 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.