Barry McNamara  |  Published April 06, 2023


In-person series returns April 12 with poetry reading by Knox’s Gina Franco.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Award-winning poet and teacher Gina Franco will revive an in-person Monmouth College series when she reads some of her works on April 12.

GINA FRANCO: The award-winning poet, who is a professor at Knox College, will be the first author... GINA FRANCO: The award-winning poet, who is a professor at Knox College, will be the first author to appear in person for the Writers@Monmouth series since before the pandemic.The Knox College professor will be the first Writers@Monmouth guest speaker to appear on campus since before the pandemic.

In addition to her reading, which will be held at 4 p.m. in the Mellinger Teaching and Learning Center, Franco will meet with students from two of English professor David Wright’s classes who are reading her latest book of poetry, The Accidental.

Published in 2019, The Accidental was the winner of the CantoMundo Poetry Prize. Set primarily in the borderlands of the American Southwest, the collection reflects on accident and its role in creating the lives we are born into – and in determining how those lives end.

“Our student writers always benefit from reading and meeting people who are practicing their art and eager to talk about it,” said Wright. “Gina Franco’s poetry does so many things – it uses language beautifully and inventively; it engages with the difficult experiences of those who are, literally, on the borders of the world; and it meditates and wonders about spiritual mysteries that can sustain us. Readers of all kinds can find much nourishment and challenge in the poems.”

In addition to the poetry reading and meeting students, Franco will serve as the judge for this year’s Rosanna Webster Graham Prize for Creative Writing.

“I’m especially eager for her to see the poems, stories and plays our student writers have generated,” said Wright.

Franco’s first book, The Keepsake Storm, interrogates the uneasy alliance between the vehemence of memory and the surrealism of narrative, especially in light of language, place, faith and identity.

“Gina Franco’s poetry does so many things – it uses language beautifully and inventively; it engages with the difficult experiences of those who are, literally, on the borders of the world; and it meditates and wonders about spiritual mysteries that can sustain us.” David Wright

Her writing has been widely published in literary journals, including: Beloit Poetry Journal, The Georgia Review, Los Angeles Review, Prairie Schooner and Tahoma Literary Review. Her work also appears in several anthologies, including Poems on Aging, The Wind Shifts: New Latino Poetry and Camino del Sol: Fifteen Years of Latina and Latino Writing.

Franco earned degrees from Smith College and Cornell University and was awarded residencies and fellowships with Casa Libre en la Solana, the Santa Fe Writers’ Conference, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and PINTURA:PALABRA, sponsored by Letras Latinas, Institute for Latino Studies, University of Notre Dame.

At Knox, where she was awarded the Philip Green Wright-Lombard Prize for Distinguished Teaching, Franco teaches poetry writing, 18th- and 19th-century British literature, Gothic literature, poetry translation, Borderland writing, religion and literature and literary theory.

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