Measuring the Dark

Winner of the 2008 First Book Award at Zone 3 Press
(selected by Phillis Levin)

Book Reviews:

Immeasurable immensities reside in Measuring the Dark, Kate Gleason’s richly imagined earth-bound book of poems, where nervy intelligence and bittersweet insight are recurrent features in an ever-changing landscape. Poetry is Gleason’s instrument for gazing at the world, for telescoping in and out of memory, drawing constellations from the swirl of events and sensations. …Gleason wears many guises, for she is an ardent explorer of relativities, deploying metaphors from modern physics to express enduring paradoxes intrinsic to our condition as a species—our fleeting and unchanging distances and intimacies.

-- From the Introduction by Phillis Levin, author of Temples and Fields, The Afterimage, Mercury, and May Day, and a professor of English and poet-in-residence at Hofstra University, as well as a teacher in the graduate creative writing program at New York University.

Kate Gleason’s first book, Measuring the Dark, has the force of a full life behind it: a mature intelligence and gravitas gleaned through long experience. Gleason exhibits a sure handling of metaphor — both extended conceits and interlocking analogies — and a sure handling of the new science, from quantum physics to string theory, finding in the scientific world analogies for the human condition. Whether writing expansive narratives, layered with personal and political history, or tightly controlled lyrics with dazzling metaphysical conceits, Gleason measures love and loss on earth, set against the darkness and empty space that surrounds us, lit up, moment to moment, by the memory of those who moved us to words.

-- Neil Shepard, editor of Green Mountains Review and author of three poetry collections: This Far from the Source (2006), I'm Here Because I Lost My Way (1998), and Scavenging the Country for a Heartbeat (1993), all from Mid-List Press

The "tug and welter" of these poems reach us outward through a lot of territory—art, science, politics, love—but their common pulse remains the physical world that, paradoxically, lifts us from the gravity of our hungers, those fleeting but fierce experiences of our inner lives. By sheer language alone, Kate Gleason embeds layers of meaning in seemingly simple descriptions, so that the vividly observed wood of a wrecked boat hull is indistinquishable from a marriage broken by partners who have drifted apart. Through such seemingly organic insights, we see in these poems how it is possible to survive our losses, like leaves "drawing on the light / stored deep in their cells / . . . the miraculous translation of waste into breath."

-- Alice B. Fogel, author of Be That Empty (Harbor Mountain Press), I Love This Dark World (Zoland Books), and Elemental (Zoland Books)

Reading Schedule:

Date TBA, at Broadside Books, 247 Main St., Northampton, MA 01060

Mon., June 14, 2010, 7 p.m. at the Walpole Library, Main St., Walpole, NH
Kate Gleason, Alice Fogel, Peter Money

Sat., Apr. 24, 2010, 3 p.m. at the Milford Toadstool Bookshop, Milford, NH
Kate Gleason, Kate Johnson, Jacqueline Howard

Fri., Apr. 9, 2010, 7 p.m. at the Jaffrey Civic Center
Kate Gleason, Rodger Martin, Kyle Potvin

Spring 2010 (Date TBA) at Del Rossi’s Trattoria, Dublin, NH
Kate Gleason, Kathleen Fagley

Sat., Jan. 9, 2010, 2 p.m. at the Peterborough Toadstool Bookshop, Depot Sq., Peterborough, NH
Kate Gleason, Leigh Marthe, Debbie Hall

Sat., Nov. 14, 2009, 2 p.m. at the Keene Toadstool Bookshop, Colony Mill, Keene, NH
Kate Gleason, Tim Mayo, Pat Fargnoli

Fri., Nov. 6, 2009, 6 p.m. at the Book Cellar, 139 Main St., Brattleboro, VT
Chrysalis Reader group reading of current issue: Kaleidoscope: Lenses on Reality.
Featuring: Kate Gleason, Tim Mayo, Susan Johnson, Arlene Distler, Ross Thurber, Mary W. Mathias, Charlene Wakefield

Thurs, Oct. 29, 2009, 7 p.m. at the Morgan University Center, Room 303, Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN
Kate Gleason, Phillis Levin