Adrienne Gruber: Reasons to Choose the Octopus As Your Lover

If you're thinking summer books, consider Globe and Mail reviewer Emma Healey's description of Adrienne Gruber's poetry collection, Buoyancy Control“...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.” 

And now we're pleased to be featuring a delectable sample from the collection. Read on for the most tantalizingly titled poem ever...

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Buoyancy Control Cover Full Size

 

REASONS TO CHOOSE THE OCTOPUS AS YOUR LOVER

            Eight tentacles. A hundred tiny cups to suck.
Morphs to camouflage (i.e., your favourite
celebrity). Master of disguise (warning: a bit of
a player). Savvy; smooth talker who keeps you
guessing. Manoeuvres in tight places (has no
internal or external skeleton). Only the blue-
ringed octopus (his Harley, his soft leather jacket
against your cheek) is deadly.

 

AND REASONS NOT TO 

            There are dreams of others. Pressed chests
together like tight barnacles, the shredded silence
of wet open mouths. Gulp sweat and warm night
air. Swim in a glittery smear of phosphorescent
stars. There is always another imperfect fit; one
who eats deep-fried Mars bars and says your
thighs are chunky. Who has thirteen lava lamps
and struggles to spell words like Christmas and
Tucson. Who collects barf bags from airplanes.
There is love everywhere, everywhere for the
taking.

 

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About Buoyancy Control:

Buoyancy Control, the latest collection of poems from Vancouverite Adrienne Gruber, explores 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.

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. Though distinguished by their own prologue poems, both sections reveal details of the narrator's examination of life, but from two different perspectives: Section 1, Terra Firma, is an exploration of place, of what we consider solid and secure, and how solidity can betray us. In contrast, Section 2, A mari usque ad maria, brings the reader into themes of water and the fluidity of identity, particularly sexual identity and queerness.

This 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, only to come out on the other side a more forgiving being from the journey. 

Fans of Karen Solie's powerfully feminist and unapologetic poetic voice, as well as the playful sarcasm and grit of Alison Calder's Wolf Tree, will glory in Gruber's fascinating culmination of land and sea, mind and body, in Buoyancy Control.

July 11, 2016
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