In her new collection of poems, Ellen Rowland summons us to presence, showing us the world through an unfiltered lens that asks us to consider the beauty and truth of the ordinary. "How large each moment becomes when we stop to feel its weight." Through descriptive, sensory language, we briefly become a savored sky, a migrating bird, a woken lover. Examining themes of nature, family, love and loss, this collection addresses the larger concerns of our times - solitude, otherness, and uncertainty - while elevating the grace of the often-forgotten gifts that surround us. Weaving gratitude with grief, the infinite with the invisible, joy with sorrow, Rowland's poems invite us into an intimate conversation about what it means to be human.
I believe in love at first sight. The manuscript falls open to "Bray," and I know I am in the presence of an original, gorgeous, lyric voice. By the time I reach "The Kiss," I am hopelessly smitten by Ellen Rowland and No Small Thing. Get a copy for yourself and another for someone you love.
Donna Hilbert, author of Threnody
By turns ekphrastic, ecstatic, and experiential, Ellen Rowland's No Small Thing is rich with sensory and sensuous gifts, like all the earth's fruits. I love how these attentive poems bring the faraway nearby and allow us to witness beauty, love, and grace as Rowland does, up close and personal.
Michael Kleber-Diggs, author of Worldly Things
In Ellen Rowland's No Small Thing I find I am learning how to love again, how to slow down, how to live. She reminds me, as I needed to be reminded: "You are unique only in your brokenness." The wisdom of these poems is deep, and they bring us to the senses again and again: the sweetness of papaya, the bird sounds of loved ones waking up, sounds of coffee percolating. As I read this collection, I find I am re-seeing my own life with a refreshed and enlivened perspective. I feel quieted and restored, like a gentle yoga class, stretched in just the right places.
Laura Foley, winner of the Common Good Books Poetry Contest
Ellen Rowland's words distill the aching beauty of presence. They let us "swim among weightless / stars" and "consider the cosmos / beneath our feet." In this slim volume, the inexpressible finds its way to us through a "network of roots," "tender tomatoes rouging in morning sun," and "silence lush with listening." No Small Thing is a boundless wonder.
Laura Grace Weldon, 2019 Ohio Poet of the Year
Reading through Ellen Rowland's newest book, No Small Thing, I shook my head and smiled as I finished each poem with relish, then went back to read it again. It is exceedingly rare to find a poet whose every work seems to slice the world into accessible and wondrous portions, much like the beetroot she describes early on in the collection-"silky red velvet" that "slips onto the white plate." When I work with beginning poets, I often have to convince them of the pleasures of writing from the senses, using the actual, physical world to bring readers more deeply into a scene. In Ellen's poems, however, you will find every one of your senses awakened.
James Crews, author of Kindness Will Save the World and editor of The Wonder of Small Things
is the author of two collections of haiku/senryu, Light, Come Gather Me and Blue Seasons, as well as the book Everything I Thought I Knew, essays on living, learning, and parenting outside the status quo. Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and in several poetry anthologies, most recently The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection and Joy and Hope is a Group Project. No Small Thing is her debut collection of full-length poems. She lives off the grid with her family on an island in Greece. Connect with her on Instagram @rowland.ellen