Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mini-Review: Measure, 2007

I picked up this copy of Measure, published by the University of Evansville, at the 2008 AWP conference I attended and am just now finishing it. Let's just say I'm a little behind in my reading.

Measure is an annual review of formal poetry, but according to its web site, the journal has recently moved to 2 issues each year because of how many quality poems they have been receiving. The 2007 issue tops out at 245 pages, including the contributors' notes. There are a few interviews and essays featuring Andrew Hudgins, Frederick Turner and Miller Williams, but the rest is metered poetry.

Included in this massive volume are poems by poets whose names I am familiar with, as well as poets I'd never heard of before. Even a couple of local poet-friends (J.D. Smith and Miles David Moore).

While the issue included some poems in which I felt the form overpowered and detracted from the "poem" itself -- syntax and sentence structures convoluted to "fit" the form -- there were so many poems that blew me away it would be hard for me to reference them all. But, to give you one example, I include this sonnet by Kate Light, whose collection Gravity's Dream I reviewed for berniE-zine a while back:


THE IDEA IS THE FLEETING GHOSTLY FISH

that's lit up in the world of fathoms-deep;
announcing its arrival with a swish
that makes the waters murmur in their sleep.
There always blooms that steady stream of snow
like plankton fallout in the sea of brain,
from which you snitch a thought not yes not no;
but Something from the world's incessant rain.
The ghostly fish that's lit up from within --
and bright enough to catch your eye that sweeps
the depths, or reaches, or the narrow place --
its luminescence gets beneath your skin,
and cheers you when it finds your tearstained face.
And if you mimic it or rise to match its pace,
then you become the company it keeps.

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