Adrienne Gruber on how Elizabeth Ross's collection After Birth offers 'everything I ever want in poetry'
April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we're canvassing Canadian poets and asking them what Canadian poetry book has been meaningful to them.
Adrienne Gruber is the author of Q&A, a collection that explores trauma and recovery during a first pregnancy, birth of a daughter and early postpartum period. Gruber's third book of poetry reveals how the experience of bringing life into the world has both its transformative and grotesque moments.
A Canadian poetry book that Gruber says has been meaningful to her is After Birth, Elizabeth Ross's second collection, published in 2018.
"This book is everything I ever want in poetry. It has birth and death, life and loss, grief and longing. It has blood and birthday cake, processed breakfast sandwiches and breast milk. The poems in After Birth are every small detail that makes up a perfectly ordinary life, but that life, viewed through Ross's tightly crafted lens, is wildly and beautifully and painfully chaotic. She writes matter-of-factly, 'Drowning/I learned years later,/was supposed to be/thrashing.' These poems continued to thrash inside me for days after reading this book."