Writing | Publications

MA (Creative Writing & English Literature), 2006, University of New Brunswick

My poems have appeared in The Fiddlehead, Event, Dalhousie Review, Prairie Fire, The Antigonish Review, and Room Of One’s Own, as well as on London Transit buses for Poetry in Motion. I attended and participated in a six-month Emerging Writer’s poetry retreat/course at the Banff Arts Centre in Ontario, Canada, with the assistance of a grant from OAC. I have taught creative writing to a wide audience, including those facing vulnerabilities, mental illness, addiction, poverty, and more. I was invited to read my poem in the Cross-Canada Mayor’s Poetry City Challenge in 2014, in London, ON. I was a writing guest facilitator for a four-week relaxation and wellness retreat for moms seeking mental health support.


1st prize, Poetry London’s Annual Poetry Contest, 2009: “Thinning.”

Angela Ludan Levine Memorial Book Prize, UNB English Department, 2005,
awarded for“best creative work” at graduate level.

SSHRC Canada Graduate Scholarship for Creative Work on Poetry Thesis, 2005

2nd prize, Room of One’s Own Annual Poetry Competition, 2003: “Snow Stopped TheTown.”

Writing Samples:


Excerpt from Where The Backroads Take You:


I followed you up the sandy path
between pines and spruce that summer,
the burning sun our only witness. I was seven,
and my worry kept pace behind you.
They told me later your broken wing was pretend,
that you were faking to protect your babies
so I would follow you away from your nest.
I was only a kid, but I knew the truth:
that anyone with a wing dragging
in the dust needed more from the world
than it was giving them–

by Debra Franke, published 2014 @ Baseline Press.

Gull Rock Fissure Vein, Keweenaw County (Excerpt)
(printed in The Fiddlehead)

East side of Grand Marais Harbour, quarter mile into Lake Superior,
how the water punctures its way through rock and all I can think of
is having children – imagining you in some prophesying way:
blonde baby hair, slight arc of your soft-boned shoulders …

Snow Stopped The Town (Excerpt)
(printed in Room Of Own’s Own)

We almost missed your funeral
trying to maintain a steady car
on snow-covered streets.
Perhaps we weren’t ready to face you.
After a year of not talking
I wasn’t ready to close silences
stretching out, highway-horizon
single yellow line

You could have had us visit beforehand
preparing us would have been kind,
then the way would not have been 
so hard to find in blowing snow,
like nights we wound our way
home from parties, singing
while darkness fell into 
white roads …

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Some stories from home, some from travel adventures (usually in autumn), some happening in community, friendship and faith, and some about the vulnerable, lonely and excluded. To honour them because they have changed me for the better and taught me how to love more fully and be loved more fully. Some days are great, some good, some not always good. But overall, it's been a beautiful journey so far, and I feel more like myself every day. -- Debra, writer / photographer / blogger / traveller

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