In the titular poem of her latest collection The Shared World, Vievee Francis pens, “we ruminate on literature and the gods / and continually seek / the ousia of the emptied jug. But we need no wine really. We are / eager to get on with it. / To take in or do whatever forwards the living, this tripwire keeping us tied / kite to string, present to past, arrow / to quiver.” Entangled between longing and love and cruelty, The Shared World searches for relief from and for the self amid bodily excavations of image and the imaginary. Throughout Vievee Francis’s body of work, she undoes ecological and societal mythmaking by calling attention to the environments, masks, folklore, and histories we inherit. As Nomi Stone prefaced her interview with the poet, Vievee Francis “speak[s] of the Black female body, this marvelous, terrified, joyful assertion of her name in a broken country that would otherwise un-speak it.”
Vievee Francis is author of Forest Primeval (Northwestern University Press), which won the 2017 Kingsley Tufts Award and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, Horse in the Dark (Northwestern University Press), and Blue-Tail Fly (Wayne State University Press). Her libretto for The Ritual of Breath Is the Rite to Resist, an opera by composer Jonathan Berger, has been performed at Dartmouth College and Stanford University in California. She received her B.A. from Fisk University and her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Michigan. Francis has taught widely, including community-based writing workshops in Detroit, and on the faculties of North Carolina State University and Warren Wilson College. She currently teaches at Dartmouth College as an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing.
Co-sponsored by the department of Africana Studies