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Eleanor Jackson, Gravidity and Parity

Highly Commended in the 2022 Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

Highly Commended in the ASAL Mary Gilmore Award 2022

Gravidity and Parity explores the narrative opportunities of pregnancy loss, pregnancy and early motherhood set against the unfolding experience of the COVID 19 pandemic.

With bleak humour, crisp language and the intricate realities of the body, Gravidity and Parity considers the natal taboo while documenting the strange, performance of life celebrated, mourned, connected and disconnected under lockdown.

'Eleanor Jackson’s Gravidity and Parity sets up an intricate narrative structure that follows the progress of pregnancy, at first as a story of loss, and then another one of birth then early motherhood. The poems are as varied in form – verse and prose poem, scattered fragment and formal structure – as they are in theme, and the book is as animated and intense as the birth process it writes about. It’s not simply a book about pregnancy, however, as all life intrudes including the current pandemic. And, yes, of course, all of us have been birthed. The book, given its title, deftly counterpoises the idea of pregnancy and equality, in other words, what is equal and not equal in the process of childbearing, what contradictions and boundaries make up this process. Jackson skilfully tempers the technical with observational clarity, wit and irony. As she writes, ‘all living, / all love is mongrel work’. This bracing and moving book engages, sometimes fearlessly, then playfully, with what it means to make life in all its intricacies and intimacies.' ASAL Mary Gilmore Award 2022 Judges' report

'Gravidity and Parity examines its subject broadly, deeply and maturely. It is likely to reward repeated reading' Westerly (read more)

'This collection pays tribute to the things that are "blemished and fundamental." Those that cannot be contained by our meagre narratives about pregnancy and motherhood. Nor should they be. A book like this should be read by everyone who was mothered/is mothered/does mothering. By every body that has held another body within it. Or hopes to. Jackson expands on our ideas of pregnancy and motherhood, fully acknowledging the space between what we are told it should be, and what it actually is. By insisting on other ways, different stories, Jackson ushers us into a world that is terrible and beautiful in equal measures, and at the same time.' – Natalie Kon-yu 

Eleanor Jackson is a Filipino Australian poet, performer, arts producer and community radio broadcaster. She is the author of A Leaving (Vagabond Press) and her live album, One Night Wonders, is produced by Going Down Swinging. Eleanor is committed to developing and hosting events and experiences that showcase the diversity of both poetic language and writers and audiences. She is the producer of the Melbourne Poetry Map and a former Editor in Chief of Peril Magazine, Board Member of Queensland Poetry Festival and Vice-Chair of the Stella Prize. She is currently Chair of Peril Magazine, an online magazine committed to celebrating Asian Australian arts and culture.

Eleanor Jackson, Gravidity and Parity
2021. 148mm x 210mm. 196pp. 
ISBN 978-1-925735-25-3
Release date: July 2021

This project has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body.

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