Robert Francis

Robert Francis' poetry has been set to music by American composer David Leisner.

Photo: Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh, Nov. 1939, University of Massachusetts Amherst

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“Robert Churchill Francis, once described by Robert Frost as ‘the best neglected poet,’ died Monday in Cooley Dickenson Hospital in Northampton. He was 85 years old. Mr. Francis had lived simply in a two-room home here for more than 40 years. In 1984 he received the Academy of American Poets Followship Award for distinguished achievement.

“Born in Upland, Pa., Mr. Francis moved to Amherst in 1926 shortly after graduating from Harvard University. He taught high school for one year, then devoted his life to writing poetry.

“‘My speciality has been not to earn much but to spend little,’ Mr. Francis told The Daily Hampshire Gazette in a 1981 interview.

“The publication in 1936 of his first collection of poems, ‘Stand With Me Here,’ brought him an invitation to be a fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and two years later he received the Shelly Memorial Prize.

“He also served as Phi Beta Kappa poet at Tufts and Harvard universities and in 1957 received the Rome Prize Fellowship given by the American Acadmy of Art and Letters.

“The last of his dozen books, Travelling in America, a collection of his journals, was published last year.

“The University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prize for Poetry was established in Mr. Francis’ honor and named after his small, tree-shrouded home that he called ‘Fort Juniper.’

–New York Times Obituary, July 16, 1987

Related Information

Books

Robert Francis: Collected Poems, 1936-1976

By Robert Francis

Recordings

Robert Francis Reads His Poems

(Robert Francis)

1975

Songs

Audio

Track:

    Sheet Music

    Outdoor Shadows

    Composer(s): David Leisner

    Song(s): 1. Slow
    2. Homeward
    3. Yes, What?
    4. Seagulls
    5. Sing a Song of Juniper

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