The Measure

Ride off any horizon
and let the measure fall

—lines from a poem, “Ride Off Any Horizon,” by John Newlove
from The Fat Man: Selected Poems 1962-1972


Let the measure fall, the measure and the metre both.
Let the calendar pages turn, the pages and the hands
of the clock. Let the roaring of the sun commence,
the sun and all its cousin stars. Let the counting
of those stars be not all-consuming, stars and wishes.
Of wishes there is no end, nor of beginnings. That is
the way of the world, this one and all others,
no matter the measure.

Questions and Answers

Is there a specific moment that inspired you to pursue poetry?

I started writing poems when I was 14 or 15 – trying to impress a girl.


How/where do you find inspiration today?

I’m inspired by almost everything around me. But I read a lot of poetry and frequently a poem I read will spark an idea for a poem.


Do you use any resources that a young poet would find useful (e.g. books, films, art, websites)?

I subscribe to 2 poem-a-day services: Poetry Magazine and Rattle Starting the day off by reading a poem or two stimulate the muse.


As a published writer, what are your tips or words of motivation for the aspiring poet?

If you want to write poetry, you have to read poetry – a lot, by various poets. And try different styles, until you find a voice you’re comfortable with.


What inspired or motivated you to write this poem?

The lines from the John Newlove poem I cite below the title.


What poetic techniques did you use in this poem? How much attention do you pay to form and metre?

My MO is to just writ the poem, without thought to form, metre or technique. Then, when I have a draft I like, I start applying “poetry” to it.


What did you find particularly challenging in writing this poem?

Ha ha. Every poem I write is challenging. And easy. Both at the same time.

This poem “The Measure” originally appeared in Canadian Literature 248 (2022): 115.

Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. If you are quoting reviews, articles, and/or poems from the Canadian Literature website, please indicate the date of access.