49th Shelf Most Anticipated Spring 2016 Poetry Selection
Buoyancy Control, the latest collection of poems from Vancouverite Adrienne Gruber, presents a fascinating culmination of land and sea, mind and body, in linguistic form. Metaphors of oceans, lakes, and other bodies of water (as well as the creatures that inhabit those spaces), swim and swirl their way through Gruber's languid poems, which are divided into two evocative sections that explore themes of sexuality, sexual identity, and queerness, while confronting the feelings of loss and longing found in relationships, and the chance glimpse into a new life, while still recovering from a painfully failed connection.
Buoyancy Control is an honest, at times humorous, and revealing look inside the mind and body of a woman manoeuvring through experiences of longing, loss, and the fluidity of sexual identity, presented in a powerfully feminist and unapologetic poetic voice, from one of Canada's most promising young writers.
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Praise for Buoyancy Control:
“Akin to the Indonesian mimic octopus, the poems in Buoyancy Control ‘ascend from the ocean floor,’ and proceed to evolve with an uncommon beauty. Both starkly sexual and aposematic, Adrienne Gruber’s second book is remarkably controlled, framing the human condition in a world that’s constantly shifting. Buoyancy Control is a fearless collection from one of Canada’s best emerging poets.” —Jim Johnstone, author of Dog Ear
“Densely, disturbingly erotic, Adrienne Gruber’s Buoyancy Control is not a book for the faint of heart. Gruber’s erotic reach encompasses the world entire, from undersea creatures to the human body of the beloved. No Hallmark sweetness in this collection—here is a fierce, wet, pulsing hunger, though there is an acute sensitivity in these observations, whether of childbirth, cold-water swimming, or other moments of convulsion and transformation so powerful that they transcend intellect. Here are poems that burst like fireworks, ‘all thought blasted into the night sky.’” —Rachel Rose, Poet Laureate of Vancouver, author of Marry and Burn
“The lust and loneliness that muscle us between open water and inky depth vie for power in Buoyancy Control. Gruber’s poems consume aqua life, roadkill, citrus, hotel beds, and dock-edge gargoyles as fuel for ‘spit-shined’ words that surface as moans and as ‘sharp, atomized shrieks.’ Plaintive, ecstatic, carnal, these pieces often wonder whether we’re ‘complete on our own,’ while veering between the urgency of self-pleasure, the defensiveness of self-containment, and the wound of self-reflexivity. Plumbing the digestive debris that skates the sea floor, Gruber’s poems muck about with our equilibrium. We rise and sink lured by shadowscapes, pleasurelands and the hunt for a healthy gravity.” —Brecken Hancock, author of Broom Broom, winner of the 2015 Trillium Book Award for Poetry
“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, The Globe and Mail
“Adrienne Gruber’s most recent collection, Buoyancy Control, is a fierce meditation on the anxieties of embodiment.” —Credence McFadzean, Matrix Magazine
“An irony runs through Gruber’s collection… the act of transforming experience into poetry also transforms the speaker, preventing a move beyond the trauma of the sexual relationship even as poetry serves to contain this trauma.” —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
“Buoyancy Control is an aquatic caper, a poetic sea change, a colourful expedition into intimacy and language. Dive in.” —Contemporary Verse 2
“Gruber gets the comedy of errors that desire portends, & she writes with wit & humour, even when, perhaps most when, attempting to catch the conflict embedded in love & desire.” —Douglas Barbour, Eclectic Ruckus
Adrienne Gruber is the author of the poetry collection This is the Nightmare (2008; shortlisted for the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry) and three chapbooks: Intertidal Zones (2014), Mimic (2012; winner of a bpNichol Chapbook Award), and Everything Water (2011). Her work has appeared in numerous literary magazines, including Grain, Event, Arc Poetry Magazine, Poetry is Dead, and Plentitude. She has been a finalist for the CBC Literary Awards in poetry, Descant’s Winston Collins Best Canadian Poem Contest, and twice for Arc’s Poem of the Year Contest. Her poem “Gestational Trail” was awarded first prize in The Antigonish Review’s Great Blue Heron Poetry Contest in 2015. Gruber lives in Vancouver with her partner Dennis and their two daughters. Her new book, Buoyancy Control, was published by BookThug in the spring of 2016. Learn more at http://adriennegruber.wordpress.com.
April 2016 | Poetry
8×6 inches | 86 pages