Francine Marie Tolf began writing poems when she was 20—at first rhyming poems, fledgling
sonnets and ballads, and later through several decades developed her craft in various
forms without losing her love and gift for rhythm, sound, and music:
My golden hair is turning gray, / my sins are sinned, my wild oats flung. / Now’s
the time to pen a book / of rhymes for children old and young.
The importance and appeal of nature, relationships, language, and the mysteries of
our intricate connections with each other recur in these poems:
For now there’s neither eye nor voice nor sun / to question what you are, or feel,
or see. / In kindness, I grant anonymity, / a gift no dawn can ever give. So come
/ and know some peace a while, be part of me.
These poems are comforting while mindful of the uncertainties that challenge our
There is no one to cry my secret to. / A deaf wind whispers, Even if there were,
/ your lover could not share it if he knew. / He could not pierce the secret to its
core / and share it with you even if he knew.
Francine’s late sister, Gale Tolf, created the beautiful black and white ink and
watercolor drawings. Gale found inspiration in myth, legend, and fairytale, a perfect
complement to these thoughtful, loving, and life-fulfilling poems.
Poems on Nature, Animals, Language, and Discoveries that occur when one of these
intricate living strands intersects with another.
FRANCINE MARIE TOLF’s poems and essays have been published in Southern Humanities Review, Poetry East, Contrary Magazine, Rattle, and Water~Stone Review. She has received two Minnesota State Arts Board Grants and grants from the Elizabeth George and Barbara Deming Foundations. Francine lives and works in Minneapolis, where she loves taking long walks around the city’s beautiful lakes and the Mississippi River. She shares an apartment with her golden cat, Lilly.
GALE TOLF was an award winning artist, writer, and teacher with a Masters in Gifted Education. Her solo art exhibits include Harlequinade, Mandala Gallery, Pacific Grove, CA; Women and Roses, Carl Cherry Foundation, Carmel, CA; Myths, Northeastern Illinois University; Day of the Dead, Café Express, Evanston, IL; and Midwest Mythology, Bicentennial Theater, Joliet, IL. Gale participated in group exhibits held in Chicago (School of the Art Institute, Swedish Art Museum in Chicago, Artemisia Gallery, NAME Gallery, and Objects Gallery) and the Monterey area (Pacific Grove Museum, Monterey Public Library, and Monterey Museum of Art). Gale’s illustrations have been published widely in literary journals.
December 27, 2017
A Word’s Worth Review:
“Readers will discover that many of the poems and drawings appeal to children, as
well as adults and that they create the same kind of mystery indicative of the Grimm
tales. ... Moonflowers, wild beasts, snakes with fangs extended, fairy queens, goblins
— creatures from old mythologies and cultures rise from the unconscious of poet and
artist in How Still the Riddle.” Read the Review