Karen Shenfeld

To Measure the World

previous next  Ekstasis Editions

In To Measure the World, Karen Shenfeld confronts the chimerical nature of love — erotic, domestic, familial — and its power to sustain and harm. With a language that’s immediate, transcendent, and visual, the poet celebrates conjugal love, then strips bare the self when she’s blindsided by its dissolution. She pays tribute to friends and family; she explores her evolving relationship with her mother, bearing witness to the debilitation of aging and disease with wit and compassion. Here, too, Shenfeld ventures away from the home into the world: She follows the footsteps of Keats and Tennyson to England’s Isle of Wight where she conjures a fragile landscape, “mutable as marriage,” “slip-sliding to the knowing sea.”

The poems in Karen Shenfeld’s fourth collection, To Measure the World, speak to the deep sources — ancient landscapes, searing interiors, biblical motives, laws of return. There are pledges, curses, betrayals, admonishments, unholy thoughts and acts; reckoning and measuring “what remains” — always with fealty to language and classic craft. These are poems for keeping the faith, for navigating beauty in worlds of “shifting shoals” and “fallen hearts.”
~ Elana Wolff, author of Swoon

To measure the world is a large ambition, but Karen Shenfeld conveys with humility how the world also measures us, and how our caring relations play out against a larger scale. Vividly evoking travel or lovingly addressing the living and the dead, she speaks in a voice by turns bold and delicate, and sometimes both at once. There are memorable poems here, moved by strong feeling and moving in their eloquent form.
~ Roger Greenwald, author of The Half-Life

Karen Shenfeld has published three books of poetry with Guernica Editions: The Law of Return (1999), which won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Poetry in 2001, The Fertile Crescent (2005), and My Father’s Hands Spoke in Yiddish (2010). Her poetry has also appeared in journals and anthologies published in Canada, the U.S., England, South Africa, and Bangladesh, and she has given readings nationally and internationally. Her poetry has also been featured on Canada’s CBC Radio and CKLN, and on shortwave radio programs broadcast from the U.S. and Italy. As well, Karen Shenfeld has brought her poetic sensibility to the writing of magazine stories and to filmmaking. She is currently writing a screenplay that has been optioned by the director, Bruce McDonald.

ISBN 978-1-77171-362-7
56 pages
6 x 9
Now Available

For Canadian
For US
For international