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.