Poetry Reading by Francesca Bell

Jessica Adams, Staff Reporter

Francesca Bell is a poet from San Francisco, California who recently came to visit Shawnee State University.

The first poem Bell read was “Souvenir”. This poem is a personification poem about an army ranger Bell knew when she was sixteen years old. He had been a sniper and was diagnosed with depression. Francesca talked this man into not committing homicide and suicide as he pulled the pin off a grenade while holding the striker lever down so it would not go off. She says at the end of the poem she holds him while he’s sweating,

“Besos,” the next poem read, is about her and her first boyfriend sharing a kiss. Her boyfriend is then beat up by another boy at the bus stop. Francesca said, “I got complaints about this poem at another university. So, I am going to read it again. Now you know me,” making a reference to when she translated a word into English from Spanish. A student had been offended and took the translation reference as relating to race. Francesca said, “This poem was about a boyfriend that I kissed and then got beaten up afterwards. This boy and I are of the same race, so I was not making any references to race.”

Francesca is interested in crime partly because she grew up in Washington during the time of The Green River Killer and Ted Bundy. Bell also has many criminals in her family, one being a cousin who was sent to prison for fifteen years for murder. This is in her poem titled “Sending Underwear to Prison”. She talks about his mother being a prostitute and handing him over to the state because her “pimp” attempted to kill Francesca’s cousin. She follows by saying when she chooses to send the underwear, she only sends the softest ones because she wants her cousin to learn tenderness like an infant.

The attendance to the event was a success, hosted by Dr. Neil Carpathios. Francesca continues to write more poetry and to continue visiting various universities around the country.