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Longtime Faculty Member and Well-Respected Baltimore Poet David Franks Dies

A memorial will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 31 at The Creative Alliance

Posted 01.20.10 by mica media relations

David was an incredibly gifted and very complex poet and man. 

David Franks

BALTIMORE--David Franks, a gifted poet and longtime MICA faculty member, died on Thursday, Jan. 14, in his Fells Point apartment. The Baltimore artist, also known as Footlong, would have been 62 this month. According to reports, Franks died of natural causes and friends said he seemed to be bouncing back since his cancer diagnosis five years ago.

Franks wrote prose in any form available, usually with a witty and somewhat wily sense of humor: writing poetry, songs, essays and even Congressional speeches in the mid-1970s. He taught writing at MICA throughout the 1970s. Though he was known as a writer and poet, he was as much a performer and artistic mind as anything else.

"Baltimore's David Franks was the sort of poet/artist whose work makes good stories to tell in bars. There was the time Franks conducted a musical composition played by tugboat whistles at Fells Point, or the time he commandeered a Xerox machine at Social Security headquarters, undressed, mounted the machine and photocopied his body," starts The Baltimore Sun's obituary of Franks, suggesting the tone through which the artist lived his life.

"David was an incredibly gifted and very complex poet and man," said Mary Ann Lambros, MICA's associate vice president for advancement planning & special projects who knew Franks from his time as a faculty member. "His years at MICA were uneven--sometimes wonderful, sometimes contentious, always interesting. He was an important part of the MICA 'as the hotbed for poetry in Baltimore' tradition that former [language, literature & culture] department chair Joe Cardarelli created."

A memorial will take place at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 31, at The Creative Alliance at The Patterson (3134 Eastern Ave.). The afternoon will also include a potluck reception at 4 p.m. and "Footlong's Friends Read" at 5 p.m. For more information, click here.

Photo caption: Portrait of David Franks by Leslie F. Miller

Founded in 1826, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) is the oldest continuously degree-granting college of art and design in the nation. The College enrolls nearly 3,500 undergraduate, graduate and continuing studies students from 49 states and 52 countries in fine arts, design, electronic media, art education, liberal arts, and professional studies degree and non-credit programs. With art and design programs ranked in the top ten by U.S. News and World Report, MICA is pioneering interdisciplinary approaches to innovation, research, and community and social engagement. Alumni and programming reach around the globe, even as MICA remains a cultural cornerstone in the Baltimore/Washington region, hosting hundreds of exhibitions and events annually by students, faculty and other established artists.