The Proving Grounds

Signal Editions / Véhicule Press, 1991 ISBN: 1550650181

This is poetry informed by an engaging and lively sense of astonishment of all things—both the commonplace and familial, and the curious and remarkable. Tregebov’s work ranges from a heart-wrenching series of poems about a life-threatening ailment contracted by her only child, to travel sketches, polemical political pieces, and lyrically-tender love poems.

The Proving Grounds will only add to Tregebov’s growing reputation.”
— Douglas Barbour, The Toronto Star.

“…almost always, in this very human and intelligent chronicle of remedial joys and difficult sorrows, [Tregebov] does make us feel life’s pain and the substantial release to be earned in surviving and naming it. …[The Proving Grounds] is a book that can be recommended not only to the only people poets suspect ever read their work (other poets) but also to all those greater multitudes who customarily don’t, and among these, in particular, to parents, nurses, doctors, and gardeners.”
— Elisabeth Harvor, The Antigonish Review.

Sample poem:

The Top Of My Head

I get to the corner the way I get from one day to the next:
abstracted, mostly afraid, not entirely located in my body.
I get from one day to the next mostly afraid
while the boy in the playground at Huron Street, who must be seven or eight,
slides the toe of his black, shiny, rubber cowboy boot
along the black, shiny slick water atop the ice;
observes its wake, the bent, cold-burnt blade of grass afloat in its wake,
and underneath it all, the earth, cold and thrilling beneath the cold rubber sole
of his boot, and in his boot his foot, in his foot the warm blood running,
him. It is false spring at the end of January, plus eight degrees
and the water is running, it is running enough to make you believe spring.
The boy can’t remember how cold it was yesterday, can’t hold winter in his mind.
And here I sit, by the equipment issue at the Athletic Center, writing this,
and, god almighty, don’t know how I got here.

© Rhea Tregebov