Tell Me How You Got Here

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“In Tell Me How You Got Here, Emily Franklin explores memory, motherhood, loss, and the ways objects-and bodies-may be haunted by the history they carry. The poems are as smart and provocative as they are tender, inviting the reader to ask difficult questions: What can we call ours? What do we lay claim to that can’t possibly belong to us? How might we live with the past rather than try to erase it? Tell Me How You Got Here is an astonishing collection.”
– Maggie Smith, Good Bones

Read “A Cure for Grief” on New Ohio Review.

Read “Epigenetic Inheritance” on The Cincinnati Review.

Read “Tell Me How You Got Here” on Shenandoah.

Read “Japan, Autumn” on Blackbird.


“Emily Franklin’s Tell Me How You Got Here is rich with the objects of this world-a stray sneaker on the highway, a garage-sale skillet, “damp frogs small as grapes”-ordinary things and situations revealed as extraordinary, thanks to her original vision and precise language. That most overworked and least understood muscle, the human heart, is the great filter through which these objects pass and accrue their startling beauty. At the end of the book, Franklin returns us to the world, and returns the world to us, redeemed. What more could we ask for from poetry?”

- Beth Ann Fennelly, Poet Laureate of Mississippi, 2016-2020

“These poems acknowledge a broken world. Franklin illuminates grief and loss, identity and memory while navigating the space between the childhoods we’ve helped create for our children and the shifting landscapes of our parents’ aging. She is a brilliant writer, one I seek out-time and again-for insight and solace.”

- Julianna Baggott, Instructions: Abject & Fuming