Four Way Books to Publish If Some God Shakes Your House by Jennifer Franklin '96

Carlos Barragán
January 09, 2023

Four Way Books is set to publish If Some God Shakes Your House by Writing alumna Jennifer Franklin '96 in March. Franklin is the author of two full-length poetry collections, No Small Gift (Four Way Books, 2018) and Looming (Elixir Press, 2015).

In this collection, Franklin reimagines an Antigone for our present time, with filial devotion and ossified roles of gendered labor fueling the engine of her defiance. Her sensitivity equally elevates the quotidian and the classical, with attention that spans centuries, from the ruins of Pompeii, to the rights of bodily autonomy and agency stripped away by today's U.S. Supreme Court, where “the one who does the judging judges things all wrong.”

“’Once I discovered / home was a lie I told myself,’ Jennifer Franklin writes in her new book, ‘I shoveled the dirt to bury my life.’ The collection title is an homage to Anne Carson’s Antigonick, where the famous poet wrote “Blessed be they whose lives do not taste of evil / but if some god shakes your house / ruin arrives / ruin does not leave.”

“Urgent, tense, and fateful,” the American poet Edward Hirsch calls Franklin’s book. “Jennifer Franklin throws her voice in these taut lyrics and prose poems that view her own experience through a dramatic lens, the voice of Antigone come back to face the rockiness of our moment and the inevitability of death. This serious, unremitting book will leave you shaken by the furies, the randomness of destiny and the gravity of life.”

“Franklin’s weaving of the political, the intimate, natural and human history, and visual and literary ekphrasis is visionary, tragic, and grand,” Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Diane Seuss said. “Each dimension buttresses and expands the possibilities of the next, and it takes all of it, the apocalyptic harmonies and disharmonies, to belt out what this speaker carries.”

Jennifer Franklin is the recipient of a 2021 NYFA/City Artist Corps grant for poetry and a 2021 CRCF Literature Award. Her work has been published widely in print and online in venues such as American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, The Nation, New England Review, Paris Review, “Poem-a-Day” on, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. She teaches in Manhattanville's MFA program and the Hudson Valley Writers Center, where she serves as Program Director. For more about Franklin’s poetry visit her website.