Poetry in Motion: Transformation & Sea Creatures
Eight years ago, inspired by the line in Karen Solie’s Modern and Normal ‘Studies show your demographic does well to take up hobbies,’ Adrienne Gruber spent four months in Mexico learning how to scuba dive and how to stop being sad. Buoyancy Control (BookThug), Adrienne’s most recent collection, was the end result of that excursion.See more details below
“Adrienne Gruber’s Buoyancy Control is a book about water that’s really a book about bodies – what they are capable of together and on their own. Moving through lakes and oceans to dreamier, less literal spaces, these poems, like their subject matter, are playful and dark in equal measure.” —Emma Healey, Globe & Mail
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Adrienne Gruber is the author of two full-length poetry collections and three chapbooks. She has two young daughters, one poetry enthusiast and one poetry skeptic. She lives, writes and cleans sticky things off the floor of her apartment in Vancouver’s West End. Eight years ago, inspired by the line in Karen Solie’s Modern and Normal ‘Studies show your demographic does well to take up hobbies,’ Adrienne spent four months in Mexico learning how to scuba dive and how to stop being sad. Buoyancy Control (BookThug), Adrienne’s most recent collection, was the end result of that excursion.
This book explores the fluidity of identity and relationships through metaphors of oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water as well as the sea creatures that inhabit those bodies of water. A four thousand kilometer drive through the United States and into Mexico, scuba diving in Puerto Vallarta, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, and the West Coast of Canada, as well as exploring the lakes in Southern Ontario create a backdrop for this collection. Throughout the book the speaker navigates experiences of longing and loss, sexual identity and queerness.
Buoyancy Control is divided into two sections. Terra Firma (Section 1) is an exploration of place, of what we consider solid and secure, and how solidity can betray us. The opening piece, “Prologue,” offers a glimpse into a new life, one that can no longer cling to previous attachments. In the long poem that follows, "Sublime,” the speaker is on a road trip to Mexico, one full of longing and grief. Here, the speaker becomes fascinated with how relationships remain in flux, how they are as fluid as individuals themselves. The speaker questions the dream of ‘normalcy,’ of traditional monogamy and desire. The long poem, “Mimic,” uses the Indonesian Mimic Octopus as a metaphor for the camouflaging and morphing we do in relationships (see this cool octopus in action here). This section goes further into past failed relationships, a kind of inventory if you will, in the hopes that different paths will be followed and different decisions made.
A Mari Usque Ad Maria (Section 2) brings the reader into themes of water, sexual identity, and queerness. The opening piece, “Prologue,” is a poem of self-exploration, where bodies are topographical maps to investigate and uncover. The poems in this section are in flux as the speaker embraces bodies of water; she scuba dives and swims, observing sea creatures and sea life under the guise of distraction from pain, loss, and longing. In these bodies of water she discovers, invents, and creates the full extent of her sexuality. As the book continues, the speaker begins a sexual and queer exploration through ocean and sea life. “Intertidal Zones,” the suite of poems that end the book, acts as a queer manifesto, where these sea creatures take on a life of their own, transforming into potential partners and lovers.
Watch Adrienne read from Buoyancy Control at the BookThug Spring 2016 launch:
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Thank you to BookThug, especially Hazel, for sharing this hypnotic collection with us!
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