In an ideal world, Francesca Maximé says she’d like to be a mother and a wife, but life gave her a detour. Like many, the 41-year-old New York City television news anchor has gone through family struggles, relationship problems, as well as self-identity issues. However, instead of wallowing in her pain, she learned to release it through poetry.
Born in Chicago to an Italian-American mother and a Haitian-Dominican father, Maximé grew up outside of Boston and graduated from Harvard with a degree in English literature. After college, she studied poetry at SUNY Binghamton. On October 15, her first book of poems “Rooted: A Verse Memoir,” published by NYQ Books, hits shelves.
“I started writing it in 2004,” says Maximé about her many poems about her abusive father and ex-fiance. “I didn’t know at the time that it would be the book it is today.”
She says by peeling away the layers of herself and delving deep down inside, she realized she never felt she deserved the right person in an adult relationship, because she was abused by her father and always fighting for his love.
“These poems go into the nitty gritty – where we don’t want to go, but it’s alright to talk about it, because that’s the only way we are going to heal,” says Maximé.
Her poem, “Miscarriage,” she says, pretty much encompasses her and might be the closest one to her heart.
“It’s not about me having an actual miscarriage, but it’s talking about all the things that I’ve lost – whether they were my friends, my home, my career, my lover – it’s a metaphor for that. It’s also the children that I never had,” says Maximé. “There’s a lot of loss and sadness but a lot of resilience. Pushing hard in NYC and moving on – that I’m not going to let this define me, or end me, but push me forward into a new realm.”
She says her poems just seemed to write themselves, and they needed to be written.
“If I hadn’t written about these things, I probably wouldn’t have been able to come face to face with my ex-fiance at the end – that’s how I end the book,” says Maximé. “I tell him how I felt about things, and realize it’s ok to not to want to be with him and let it go.”
She also wrote a poem entitled, “What I Wanted,” which talks about wanting to be like Cindy Crawford and Oprah Winfrey and have a talk show to talk about complicated issues we all face.
“I feel like I’m moving towards that,” says Maximé who is also starting a new talk show called “Fresh Outlook” on Ebru TV – in which she will be talking about sensitive topics such as, immigration, college, and the election. “If there’s a way that other people feel less alone through the shared struggle that I’m sharing, that’s really satisfying to me.”
The poet/newswoman describes writing to be as natural as giving birth, and although she still dreams of finding the love of her life and having a child one day, she will always have poetry. Just completing “Rooted” this past summer, Maximé says she ends on an up note.
“This is the story of me…field reports about different parts of my life,” she says. “In the news we revisit stories, and I do that in my poems too as my life evolves. We’re all storytellers and we all have our stories to tell. Mine, in this case, are shared in poetic verse.”