The Span of a Small Forever: Poems (Paperback)

The Span of a Small Forever: Poems By April Gibson Cover Image

The Span of a Small Forever: Poems (Paperback)


On Our Shelves Now
On hand as of Jul 17 7:05pm

With echoes of Audre Lorde’s The Cancer Journals and Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor, an extraordinary debut collection from a prize-winning poet that chronicles a Black woman’s journey through disability, the byzantine healthcare system, life-giving, taking, and sacrifice.

With breathtaking lyricism and a vulnerability that pierces the heart, April Gibson journeys through the emotional abysses, the daily pleasures, the frustrations, and the joys of being a Black woman living with chronic illness. 

Gibson offers a unique perspective on “the body,” viewing disability and healthcare through both feminist and socio-economic lenses filtered by race and faith. Through gorgeous sensory language that migrates memories, from carefree innocence to the ravages formed in its absence, Gibson bears witness to grief, courage, and resistance to redefine herself on her own terms.  

Gibson presents her body as a “looking glass” that re-envisions illness, womanhood, motherhood, religious relics and collective loss through her physicality, through her lamenting, through her unearthing, reckoning and rebirth. Not only do we see her, but see the “we” in her. The Span of a Small Forever is both testimony and transformation—heart-shattering in its honesty, it ultimately offers us transcendent beauty, nourishment, and the strength we need to go on in our lives.

April Gibson is a poet, writer, and professor whose work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Rhino Poetry, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. April has won The Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award and the Sustainable Arts Foundation Award. She has been awarded residencies from Write On, Door County and the Vermont Studio Center. She is a fellow of the Poetry Incubator (Poetry Foundation), the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshop, and The Watering Hole Poetry Retreat. April is also a Tin House and VONA Writing Workshop alum, and her research has received support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. She teaches in the Department of English, Literature, and Speech at Malcolm X College in Chicago.

Product Details ISBN: 9780063319172
ISBN-10: 0063319179
Publisher: Amistad
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2024
Pages: 144
Language: English

"Gibson’s collection is substantial; it is a debut that is not a glimmer of promising talent but the annunciation of a career"
Los Angeles Review of Books

  “The poet April Gibson heard us when we pleaded how we needed something new. She felt the shift in the wind when we reached for something revelatory bare. The Span of a Small Forever is a book for the unsung. . . This testimony takes us to the scary basement of self-discovery. After reading, we all will become closer to the small and mighty miracles within. The Span of a Small Forever is no small book, and the poems that make up this fine collection are not small songs.”
Derrick Harriell, author of Cotton and Ropes

“The Span of a Small Forever is the unpretentious feat of a writer with a crystalline vision. Gibson’s dexterous music underscores her stories of black girlhood and womanhood from escaping church to teen pregnancy and triumph despite the medical industrial complex’s failures. This collection of poems centers self-love, reclamation of this woman’s power, and the highs and lows of motherhood hollered from the Southside of Chicago despite the ravages of Crohn's disease, racism, and naysayers. Gibson is a tough and tender somebody, whose pen illuminates illness and the radiance of the small beauties in everyday life.”
Maya Marshall, author of All the Blood Involved in Love

“Gibson challenges and dispels so many stereotypes of what it means to be a Black woman, a mother, a human. . .her pen is mighty sharp, and everything in her tool bag is unafraid to be different. In reading The Span of a Small Forever I am constantly reminded of the dared beauty in A Street in Bronzeville by Gwendolyn Brooks. Each time I get lost in these poems I’m left with an experience that leaves me more in tuned to the world in language that is electric. I say thank you, poet. We been waiting on you.” — Randall Horton, author of Dead Weight: A Memoir in Essays

"What I love most about April Gibson’s poetry is its breathtaking scope. The Span of a Small Forever takes us from a girlhood spent in the houses of her ancestors to teenage motherhood that blossoms behind the barred windows of an institution, and from a painful childhood marked by illness to an adult's acceptance of her changed body. In each poem, Gibson offers us the unabashed details of what it means to grow into Black womanhood . . . This is a powerful debut, and April Gibson is a singular poet."
Destiny O. Birdsong, author of Negotiations