Vievee Elaure Francis

Associate Professor

My primary interest is in poetics, particularly in how poetry is made and the value of such deliberate creative practice. I want to know how poetry serves us collectively and as individuals in ways that meet this era, this moment; however, in order to gain that understanding contexts cannot be ignored, nor can history be set aside. It is the intent of my instruction and an inherent objective of my own poetry to upturn how we think about poetry, its lineage, and the cultural impact of received aesthetics. I insist upon a reconsideration of the erroneous assumptions and common mythologies around poetry that allow only for the immediate and the intuitive as a measure of what is authentic. Instead I focus on the possibilities within work drawn from the counterintuitive, and how craft alongside context may underscore intent. Further, I seek to disclose how poetry acts as foundational art, both catalyst and girder for other genres of literature and the study of literature.

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We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry. – William Butler Yeats

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B.A. Fisk University
M.F.A. University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Selected Publications

Forest Primeval. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2016

2016 Hurston Wright Legacy Award

Short-list PEN Open Award

Horse In the Dark. Chicago: Northwestern University Press, 2012

Cave Canem Northwestern University Press Prize

Blue-tail Fly. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2006

Poets & Writers Magazine Notable Debut