Lia Purpura
Selected by Judith Kitchen

A lyrical, intensely personal depiction of the transforming experience of motherhood


"'Since Joseph was born, this yearning has formed itself, materialized as a desire for a visible, outward sign of attachment' Lia Purpura says in Increase, clearly setting before us the visible, outward signs of the world in which she is made anew by love for a child. This is precise, beautiful writing, made more lovely and urgent by the 'eye of compassion' she praises elsewhere."
—Carol Muske

"After reading Increase, I imagine that Lia Purpura might be interesting about any subject she decides to take on. She turns journal entries about her pregnancy and the first year of her son's life into an evocation of a sensibility, and finally, into literature. I love the way her sentences move, and how they nimbly bear the weight of the complex intelligence behind them."
—Stephen Dunn

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Increase is Lia Purpura’s chronicle of her pregnancy, the birth of her son, Joseph, and the first year of his life. She recounts her journey with the heightened awareness of a mother-to-be and through the eyes of a poet, from the moment she confirms her pregnancy as “A blue X slowly crosses itself, first one arm, then the other in the small white window of the test,” through “the X of his crossed feet in sleep” as her child’s world begins. Purpura’s sensibility transcends the facts of personal experience to enfold the dramatically changing shape of a larger, complex world.

These closely knit essays portray the rhythms of a new mother’s life as it is challenged and transformed in nearly every aspect, from the emotions of wildness, loss, need, and desire to the outward progress—and interruption—of her work and activities. Increase offers us motherhood at an extraordinary pitch, recording, absorbing, and revisiting experiences from a multitude of angles. Purpura presents her story of discovery with unequaled eloquence, grace, and power.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

Page count: 152 pp.
Trim size: 5.5 x 8.5


List price: $18.95

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Lia Purpura is the author of seven collections of essays, poems, and translations. Her essay collection On Looking was a finalist for the Natonal Book Critics Circle Award. Her other honors include Guggenheim, NEA, and Fulbright Fellowships, three Pushcart Prizes, and inclusion in the Best American Essays anthology series. Purpura is a writer in residence at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and also teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop MFA Program.