The Chattanooga State Writers@Work Program Hosts Poet Ariel Francisco

  • Thursday, March 23, 2023

The Chattanooga State Humanities Department’s Writers@Work program will host Poet Ariel Francisco for a week-long celebration of his poetry collection, A Sinking Ship Is Still a Ship, April 4-6. 
The Writers@Work series celebrates Southern literature by integrating the work of selected authors into the curriculum of the Department’s Composition Two course. Each year, the nearly 1,000 students enrolled in Composition Two engage in activities focused around a specific work while practicing critical course skills. Every spring, the W@W featured author comes to Chattanooga to share their work and writing experience with the faculty, staff and students of Chattanooga State and the public. 

Past W@W authors include an impressive lineup of nationally-recognized and best-selling Southern authors, including Terry Kay, Jill McCorkle, Lila Quintero Weaver, Rick Bragg, George Singleton, Ron Rash, Robert Morgan, Tayari Jones, Tom Franklin, Beth Ann Fennelly, Daniel Wallace, Jericho Brown, Karen Russell and Chattanooga’s own Ishmael Reed.  
This year’s Writers@Work installment features Mr. Francisco and his poetry collection, A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship. 
In a review of Mr. Francisco’s work, Booklist describes the poems as a “shimmering second collection of poetry depict[ing] South Florida as hopelessly doomed, in all its pre-apocalyptic glory…” going on to say that the collection is “Equal parts elegy and ode” and that “the lyrics sing a distinctly Floridian tune…” In a review of A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship, best-selling author Richard Blanco writes, “Part satirist, part ecopoet, part elegist, but every bit a luminous poet, Ariel Francisco brilliantly voices the complex intersections of the physical, emotional, and natural landscapes that define our sense of place and belonging, as well as our feelings of alienation and ennui.”  
Born in the Bronx to Dominican and Guatemalan parents, Mr. Francisco Henriquez Cos was raised in Miami. He completed his MFA in poetry at Florida International University and an MFA in literary translation at Queens College CUNY. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The Rumpus, The New York City Ballet and American Poetry Review. Mr. Francisco’s poetry collections include Under Capitalism If Your Head Aches They Just Yank Off Your Head, A Sinking Ship is Still a Ship, All My Heroes Are Broke, and Before Snowfall, After Rain. He is also the translator of Columbian Poet Carolina Sanchez’s Viaje/Voyage and Guatemalan Poet Hael Lopez’s Routines/Goodbyes. In addition, he is an assistant professor of poetry at Louisiana State University. 

The Writers@Work program would like to invite the public to the following events free of charge.   
Public Schedule of Events 
Event: Inside the Mind of Ariel Francisco: The Behind-the-Writer Interview 
Date & Time: Tuesday, April 4, 6-8 p.m.  
Location: The Hunter Museum of American Art 
Details: Enjoy beautiful views of the Tennessee River from the lobby of the Hunter Museum during Writers@Work’s annual interview night. ChattState English Professor Erica Lux will interview Ariel Francisco about his journey to becoming a writer, his writing process, and what it means to be a Southern author. Join us at the Hunter Museum of American Art to ask questions, get your books signed, and mingle with other readers from the community at our dessert reception. This in-person event is free to the public, and no advance registration is required. Find more information at
Event: ChattState Chautauqua: “A Rose by Any Other Name” 
Date & Time: Thursday, April 6, 2-3 p.m.   
Location: Virtual Zoom Event 
Details: In addition to his life as a writer, Ariel Francisco acts as a translator for other writers. In this virtual Chautauqua meeting, Mr. Francisco will discuss this process and answer questions from participants. This virtual event is free to the public, but advanced registration is required. Free registration is available at  

For more information on the program or these events, please visit the program’s website.

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