For the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of West Branch Wired, Gina Franco talks to West Branch interns Sara Chuirazzi '16 and Daniel Barnum '17.

Gina Franco West Branch: Could you talk a little about how you came to poetry? Today, there seems to be a standardized path from high school to undergraduate studies, then directly into an MFA program and publishing. Was this the route you took, or did you trace an alternative trajectory?

Gina Franco: I think my educational path more or less resembles the one you describe as "standardized": high school, undergrad, graduate work, publishing (and maybe teaching fits there, too?). But I was never quite on the straight and narrow. Through my second year of high school, my entire childhood education took place in the tiny schools of the Arizona mining town where I grew up. I had a few wonderful teachers there, especially in art, biology, and French, but I received little training in math or reading and writing. When my family moved to Tucson, Arizona, at the end of my sophomore year, and I was placed in school there, I was pretty far behind. I couldn't keep up with my peers, and I didn't know how to find help, so I dropped out of high school.

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