Frances Roberts Reilly was born on the Welsh border and grew up in England. She’s of mixed-heritage Welsh Gypsy-English, a direct descendant of Abram Wood and the notable family of Welsh triple harpists, fiddlers and storytellers.
She began writing seriously in 1972, whilst working at BBC television in London, England. After making award-winning documentaries, she earned an Honours degree in English Literature at the University of Toronto at the age of 51.
Frances has an international profile as a Romani writer. True to the spirit of the Romani diaspora her recent poems explore Romany life, identity and culture and are published in well regarded anthologies in Canada, U.S., U.K., Wales and Europe.
Her debut poetry collection, Parramisha – our stories is published by Cinnamon Press, Wales in 2020.
Her memoir, Underground Histories (first chapter) published in Stone to Stone: Anthology of Women Romani Writers.
Who was John Sampson Really Protecting? published in Romani Journal by Central European University, Budapest, Hungary.
Mad Gwen, her play was produced at She Speaks. Women’s work – Women’s Words. A Celebration of International Women’s Day in Waterloo, Ontario in 2019.
Frances performs spoken word with a harp, her poetry and the Gypsy stories bought by her Romany family to Wales.
She is a member of The League of Canadian Poets and The Ontario Poetry Society.
Stories and poems inspired by her Gypsy family in Wales, Europe and Canada at the World Storyteliing Cafe
Guest Storyteller in tribute to Gypsy, Roma and Traveller History Month (GRTHM) at World Storytelling Cafe, 2020.
Guest author on CBC Radio, WSRQ Radio, Sarasota. She is co-host and Feature Producer on Promenade Community Radio Magazine, CKWR FM 98.5.
Borealis Butterfly is published in Women’s Voices.
Girl on the Outcrop and Aging Well are published in Gatherings: A Journal of EcoPsychology.
A selection of recently published poems (online)
Fresh Voices, League of Canadian Poets online lit page published Memorials
Fresh Voices, League of Canadian Poets published I Begin Again
Devour: Art & Lit Canada published my poem Red
Words of the Wild (UK) published my poem Beside the Grave of Abram Wood
Three poems in the Winter edition of Glastonbury Festival’s The Goddess Pages.
The Green Man is a poetry chapbook published by The Ontario Poetry Society under its Stanza Break series.
Parramisha a collection of poetry published by Cinnamon Press in 2020.
Listen to Three Poems from Parramisha aired on Promenade Community Radio Magazine, June 2020.
Fire and the Rose poem received an award for “Most Popular Poem” by members of The Ontario Poetry Society.
Let’s Take our Teeth and Talk poem was featured by The League of Canadian Poets for National Poetry Month in 2015.
Heart Strings poem, Judges Choice, Sparkle & Shine Anthology, Beret Days Press, 2015.
Parramisha will transport you to the heart of Welsh Romany life as it traces the Tatcho Romany Drom, the True Heart’s Path and brings the voices of old Gypsy souls back to life. Raine Geoghegan, Romani poet & author of ‘they lit fires – lenti hatch o yog’,
This deeply felt collection is an exemplar of how a Romani heritage may be celebrated…as a wellspring of cultural innovation and adaptation within diverse, contemporary society.” Dr. Thomas Acton OBE, Emeritus Professor of Romani Studies
“The Green Man’s vehicle of expression — through metaphor and simile — is the munificence of earth’s verdure… a three-part excursion into romantic eroticism in one voluminous offering.” David Chirko, Reviewer
Frances Roberts-Reilly’s verse is cerebral, challenging in the adroit web of literary allusions as she probes the depths; Her Daddy poem is as emotional charged as that of the mistress of confessional poetry herself — Sylvia Plath. Frances’s range of poetic terrain is admirable. Peter Hargitai, poet, novelist and reviewer – New York Review of Books.
3 thoughts on “Writing & Poetry”
Hi I am also a direct descendant of Abram Wood and have researched this family for the last 30 plus years
I would love to know how we connect ! Always Lookin for new cousins !!!
Hi Teddy: Thank you for reaching out. To answer your question, my direct line to Abram Wood is through Valentine Wood, to John Roberts, his daughter Mary Ann Roberts and her husband Edward Wood to my great grandmother Winnie Wood and so on. Let me know if you have any questions.