logo

paper • 110 pages • 15.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-945588-20-4

No Small Gift

Jennifer Franklin

Centered on the theme of regaining a voice, the collection manifests poetry’s power to distill meaning from the chaos of trauma.

Grave illness, profound disability, and stunning cruelty and betrayal are Franklin’s catalysts in No Small Gift: turning the chaos of her trauma into meaning, rediscovering a voice embedded under sutures and scars, making a whole from rent parts. Unflinching biographical details intersect with fictional and historical figures–the mythological personae of Philomela and Lavinia, Vermeer’s tronies and Rodin’s lovers, children killed in the Nazi’s euthanasia program, and other mute victims of abuse and neglect and eyewitness to horror–to animate a collection that proves “every song of grief is still song.”

“First Love” from No Small Gift

The boy beside me
is not you but he
is familiar in all

the important ways.
I pass through life
finding you over

and over again— 
oppress you with love. And every surrogate? Afflicted by my kindness, they leave me with my music. I loved you before I ever loved you.
 

Watch the Book Trailer

  • "...These haunting, beautiful poems show us that it just might be our capacity for love that guides and sustains us through the pain..."-Fred Marchant
  • "Near the beginning of Jennifer Franklin's No Small Gift, Nietzsche, on the brink of madness, looks into the eyes of a brutally beaten horse on the street and sees the shock in that gaze turn 'to recognition, to resignation, to an eye / reflecting a field full of fallen horses.' Passage through that field of betrayal seems, in these artful, unsparing poems, the only way toward love, which comes after loss, after the damages, on a path lit up by what we make, the art 'that keeps us from dying of the truth.'"-Mark Doty
  • "...With her layered images interspersed with near-playful admissions ('Still life with tongue cancer'—there’s a second way to read that), Franklin turns her journey of devastations into a multidimensional transit of human depth. If joy is to rise out of chaos and pain, there must be a composting process first, an effort of adding air and time. In 'Amor Fati,' she marvels, 'I didn’t / know these cuts would save // more than my body. / I wouldn’t negate any of it / now if I could.'..." Read the full review.
  • "...Franklin seems to say what others don’t dare, how hard is life’s architecture without love, and yet, pain is most beautiful when it’s true; and Franklin phrases her thoughts with a keen eye and delicate touch...." Read the full review.