BlueInk Review: ‘Measures’ by B. L. Bruce


B.L. Bruce

Publisher: Black Swift Press 
Pages: 134 
ISBN: 9781735707402
Reviewed: March, 2021


Excerpt from BlueInk Review

[B.L. Bruce’s] newest poetry collection, Measures, by turns elicits tenderness and melancholy, hopefulness and heartbreak—which is to say, the gamut of the human condition.

Measures includes 58, mostly free verse poems with occasional haiku. Imagery from the natural world is often employed to further its themes.

“Dusk,” for example, takes its cues from nature as the poet conjuring a landscape and time of day with colors, textures, and scents, creating a multi-layered sensory experience: “…soot-colored/ shearwaters blurring the horizon,/ the briny air of slack tide/ on up-canyon wind,/ the parading hours of dusk/ in which you whisper, slowly,/ the voice that yields me/ as though I am clay.” The diction is precise and elegant, employing alliteration and consonance throughout, while gradually drawing readers into a glimpse of the relationship of the speaker (“I”) with a particular “you.” This relationship gains emotional depth from being depicted in context of the physical landscape and arrival of day’s end.

Many of Bruce’s images linger in the mind while also provoking strong emotion: “the rouge I smear/across my lips/when wrought/ with need”; “Dying oak/ veiled/ in moss”; “Twice this morning I stopped to listen: geese bellowing, gliding inland/ toward the marsh.”

. . . Bruce’s collection offers many accomplished and memorable moments, reflecting great potential for reaching a wide poetry-reading audience.


In Measures, B. L. Bruce’s third collection of poetry, the author deftly explores the visual measures of time and the nature of change in her celebrated, nuanced verse.

In this latest collection featuring nearly sixty new poems—including works in new formats like micropoetry and American haiku—award-winning poet B. L. Bruce again echoes the lyricism and rich imagery that readers have come to praise.


Award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee, California poet Bri Bruce (writing as B. L. Bruce) has been called the “heiress of Mary Oliver.” With a bachelor’s degree in literature and creative writing from the University of California at Santa Cruz, her work has appeared in dozens of anthologies, magazines, and literary publications, including The Wayfarer Journal, Canary, The Remnant Archive, Northwind Magazine, The Soundings Review, The Monterey Poetry Review, and the American Haiku Society’s Frogpond Journal, among many others. Bruce is the recipient of the Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize and the PushPen Press Pendant Prize for Poetry, as well as the author of four books: The Weight of Snow, 28 Days of Solitude, The Starling’s Song, and Measures. Her highly praised debut collection, The Weight of Snow, was the 2014 International Book Awards poetry category finalist and the 2014 USA Best Book Awards poetry category finalist. The Starling’s Song was released in February of 2016, and was selected as Honorable Mention in the Pacific Rim Book Festival. In addition to her writing pursuits, Bruce is a painter and photographer, with work that has been featured in The Sun Magazine, Near Window, and others. Follow her on Twitter @the_poesis and on Instagram @thepoesis.

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