Robert Francis
back home next




Editor's Note:  Robert Francis may be the 20th century's best-kept secret.  He wrote in a clear, concise, musical style somewhat reminiscent of Robert Frost and Emily Dickinson, combining perhaps the best qualities of those two writers; yet his style was uniquely his own.  As a master of the short lyric, Francis has few peers.  This is a poet not to be missed.


The Disengaging Eagle
Fair and Unfair
Farm Boy after Summer
The Fate of Elms
The Gardener
Good Night Near Christmas
The Mouse Whose Name Is Time
New England Mind
Two Bums Walk Out of Eden
The Two Lords of Amherst


The University of Massachusetts Press, which owns the majority of Francis's poems, has permitted me to post ten of the above poems without charge.  Wesleyan University Press, which owns one of Francis's books, has permitted me to post three poems without charge.  Grateful thanks are given to these publishers for their kindness and generosity.  These 13 poems represent just a small fraction of Francis's work.


The most comprehensive collection of Francis' poems is Robert Francis: Collected Poems: 1936-1976 (University of Massachusetts Press, 1985).  Late Fire, Late Snow: New and Uncollected Poems (University of Massachusetts Press, 1992) completes the collection.  Francis remained creative into his later years, and this final collection contains some excellent poems.  Click on the link at the bottom of the page to order from  To order from Barnes & Noble, click here and then search for "Robert Francis poems" (at the time of this writing, Barnes & Noble has the better price and offers free shipping when two or more books are purchased and shipped together).  Books by Francis can also be ordered from the University of Massachusetts Press, but cannot be ordered online (use their toll-free number).  Francis wrote an autobiography, The Trouble with Francis (University of Massachusetts Press, 1971), which I have not yet read but which is reported to be interesting.


Added April, 2002