“Hard Times Dope Rhymes” by Francesca Saulson is coming soon

Franchesca and her daughter Elune

My niece Franchesca Saulson is putting together a poetry chapbook. She asked me to edit it. I got Emily Flummox to give me a hand with this process. It really brings back memories. Me and my mother started taking Francesca to open mic poetry when she was really little. By the time she was in third grade, she was stepping to the mic with the rest of us.

Her book, Hard Times Dope Rhymes, is filled with works of urban street poetry. The word she’s put in as an open mic poet since she was 8 or 9 years old has finally come to fruition. She has so many poems going so far back. As a kid, she loves movies like Love & Basketball. She also watched movies like Poetic Justice. All of these things had an early influence on how she thought about writing.

Front: Me and Emily Flummox. Back: my brother Scott, his daughter Franchesca and grand daughter Elune

I am really proud of her the work she’s doing. I am very happy to be a part of it. My mother was a poet, so Franchesca is the third generation poet in this family. Back in the seventies when I was a kid, one of my mother’s poems was on a poster that they used to sell in a bunch of Afrocentric shops, as well as in hippie type head shops where you could purchase bonds. It was on velvet backdrop, which had a picture of a beautiful black queen in profile with a large afro.

My mother Carolyn Saulson and niece Elisabetta Saulson. Me and Greg Hug are off in the distance in the background.

My mom was really proud of that poem, which had been picked up by a publisher, who produced these posters. I was writing poems in third grade, just like Franchesca Saulson. What I wrote was something like the inside of a Hallmark card. I would write these poems and sell them to people for their wedding invitations and things like that. I actually went to a copy shop and made copies of things that have these phones in them. So it was like a little business.

I’m really glad that Franchesca is feeling confident enough to put her work out into the world. I am super proud of her and I love her.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on January 11, 2022.

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