‘Arboretum in a Jar’ by Frances Donovan

Arboretum in a Jar

poetry by Frances Donovan


Praise for Arboretum in a Jar

“In this rich collection of poems, Frances Donovan weaves lyric poetry with memoir, dramatic personae with careful self-reflection, all in complex meditation on trauma, sexual awakening, recovery, and femininity.  Rapunzel, Snow White, and princesses in many guises are alive in these poems, not as fairy tale characters, but as versions of the speaker’s fragmented self, as figures through which self-discovery must eventually occur.  Here, she observes flowers, “barely blooming, though still marigold /…heart-shaped, / reaching toward a light they barely understand.” Complex and deeply moving, Arboretum in a Jar is a book I will return to with great pleasure.” 

– Kevin Prufer, author of The Art of Fiction and How He Loved Them

About the Author

Frances Donovan’s chapbook Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore was a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award. Donovan’s poems have appeared in Lily Poetry Review, Solstice, Heavy Feather Review, SWWIM, and elsewhere. Her interviews of other poets can be found at The Rumpus and on her website, www.gardenofwords.com. Donovan holds an MFA in poetry from Lesley University and is a certified Poet Educator with Mass Poetry. In 2019, Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola selected one of her poems to be displayed at Boston City Hall. Donovan’s work deals with themes of home, family, intergenerational trauma, and sexual and gender identity. She remembers fondly the summer of 1998, when she drove a bulldozer in a Pride parade while wearing a bustier.