Books·Poetry Month

Adrienne Gruber on how Elizabeth Ross's collection After Birth offers 'everything I ever want in poetry'

Adrienne Gruber, author of Q&A, shares why she loved reading Elizabeth Ross's sophomore collection for National Poetry Month.
Adrienne Gruber recommends reading After Birth by Elizabeth Ross. (Palimpsest Press, Dennis Hill)

April is National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we connected with Canadian poets and asked them what Canadian poetry book has been meaningful to them.

Adrienne Gruber is the Vancouver-based author of the full-length poetry books Buoyancy ControlThis is the Nightmare and Q&Aa collection that explores trauma and recovery during a first pregnancy, birth of a daughter and early postpartum period.

Q&A, Gruber's third book of poetry, reveals how the experience of bringing life into the world has both its transformative and grotesque moments.

Back in 2019, Gruber told CBC Books the Canadian poetry book that has been meaningful to her is After Birth, Canadian poet 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.

This book is everything I ever want in poetry.

"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."

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