* Winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction

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, the the other in the small, white window of the test,” through “the X of his crossed feet insleep” 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 lyrical reflections portray the rhythms of a new mother’s life as it is challenged and transformed in nearly every aspect, from the individual 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.

“A fusion of the measured and the lyrical. By turns contemplative, forthright, or questioning, Increase offers not ideology but insight . . .Time is the subject, the way we are its unthinking embodiment . . .This sequence of brief, still moments achieves active wisdom.”                             — Judith Kitchen

“This powerful, crafted book is, at one level, a meditation on pregnancy and birth, on the giving and gathering of time. But at a deeper level it is a true and eloquent addition to the literature of self-knowledge. What makes this book so strong is that throughout its sustained, lyrical meditation we observe not just a child growing towards birth, but a self growing towards self-definition, This is an adventure in style and music that draws the reader in and offers surprises and truths at every turn. — Eavan Boland

“This is precise, beautiful writing, made more lovely and urgent by the ‘eye of compassion’ {Purpura} praises elsewhere.”                         — Carol Muske

“I love the way her sentences move, and how they nimbly bear the weight of the complex intelligence behind them.”  — Stephen Dunn