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IR Staff Tells All: Our Favorite Vievee Francis Poems

The incomparable Vievee Francis, recent winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, is judging our 2017 Poetry Prize. If you’re looking for inspiration, why not look at her work? Indiana Review editors share their favorite poems below!

Su Cho (Editor): 

“How Delicious to Say It” not only deftly luxuriates in the poetics of sound but also grapples with permanence, identity, and love. Within just 15 lines, the poem ends with “Your name spun through the reel, wound up from the bass / of me. How I want to say it, and hear my own, again.” This poem is a must-read and could be read aloud every day and I wouldn’t tire of it.

Emily Corwin (Poetry Editor): 

“Another Antipastoral” opens Forest Primeval with force and wonder. “Don’t you see? I am shedding my skins. I am a paper hive, a wolf spider, the creeping ivy, the ache of a birch, a heifer, a doe.” There is immense beauty and terror here, the speaker melding with the landscape in gorgeous and grotesque ways. I love Vievee’s poems for their lush magic and splendor. If you haven’t read Forest Primeval, you need to—this whole collection is a stunner.

Anna Cabe (Web Editor):

I tore through Forest Primeval in one sitting and was hard-pressed to decide which poem was my favorite. The one I kept coming back to over and over again, though, was “Taking It.”

Girls didn’t punch until high school. I had always

punched. What kind of girl are you?

The kind who wants to live, I said, and I did want to

until I didn’t anymore. […]

This poem explores the violence done to women, particularly Black women, and the ways in which they do violence in return. It’s complex, raw, pulsing with near-inescapable fury and pain. The final lines haunt me still: “[…]Imagine him punching/me, and punching me again, saying I’m sorry, so sorry,/ to have to love you this way.”

Don’t forget to submit to the 2017 Poetry Prize, deadline April 1!