Francesca Bell was born in Spokane, Washington into a family with deep, hardscrabble roots in the Northwest. Her maternal great-grandfather, the son of a prostitute and her client, was raised in a brothel. Four of her maternal grandmother’s five siblings were born on the Yakama Indian Reservation before the family settled in 1910 on a 160-acre homestead in Plummer, Idaho. On her father’s side, the Norwegian Wikum family, when traced 700 years back, was already renowned for its spectacularly heavy drinking. The hard living continued in America where the clan was referred to around Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho as “the fighting Wikums.”
Bell was raised in Washington and Idaho and settled as an adult in California. She did not complete middle school, high school, or college and holds no degrees.
Bell’s poems appear in many magazines including ELLE, New Ohio Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, Rattle, and Tar River Poetry. Her translations, from Arabic and German, appear in Arc, B O D Y, Circumference | Poetry in Translation, Mid-American Review, and The Massachusetts Review. She is the co-translator of Palestinian poet Shatha Abu Hnaish's collection, A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito (Dar Fadaat, 2017), and the author of Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019).