No Measure

Kelly Krumrie

ISBN: 978-1-940853-26-0
114 pgs


forthcoming 10/01


In No Measure, two entangled scientists attempt to measure, record, and modify a desert on all scales, from a wide valley to a grain of sand. The speaker works with and for another researcher who watches over her from a control room as the speaker tends a desert remediation project. The desert setting is inspired by past and present industrial and ecological disasters as a result of climate change, technological production, and desertification. 

The scientific task of measurement and documentation on such a scale, and in such a changing landscape, is impossible, and this is layered with the desire to know and be with another through the same lens, with the same language. The repetition required of scientific processes is not unlike romantic obsession. Here, performative acts of measurement create a scientific erotics, an installation the reader moves through, an atmosphere susceptible to weather. 

Krumrie explores how desire might be thought of as a “self-organized criticality” and the ways in which permutations of scale can be rendered immeasurable by a series of prose poems—a lapidary erotic.



"Situated in the desert of the imaginary that extends perilously, ecstatically, between the abstract ground of thought and the concrete process of inscription, Kelly Krumrie’s No Measure activates a “rushing system” that flows, pours, and seeps into a thousand plateaus of crystalline articulation and eroticized science. Embodying lyric performance in equal measure to cartographic reportage, No Measure transcends genre as effortlessly as it delimits the measureless tractability of “what landscape desire makes.” Krumrie writes out the history of desire as a double articulation: of sand and glass, opacity and transparency, extraction and transformation, expanse and touch, landscape and longing. Does glass—the glass of the window and screen as much as the glass of the eye and the mind—presume to be touched, eventually, as a kind of demystification of the objectivity of the gaze? Does the sprouting of grass constitute the ground in the way water formulates the shape of the container? Krumrie writes: “No matter. We’re of no measure. My mind’s eye, my attention, parts grasses to find your hands, grasses part to find your hands. If I keep writing glass, I can see what it’s made of.” In No Measure, Krumrie has documented the site-specific history of glass and the sight-specific disaggregation of desire and given us a new treatise on that most sublime of objects: the “self-organized criticality” of the human gaze." —Jose-Luis Moctezuma, author of Black Box Syndrome

"Kelly Krumrie's No Measure documents perception while prismatically investigating what it means to measure the shifting landscapes of space and time, including the landscape that desire makes as it seeks such knowledge. Unlike the normative Newtonian observer, the speaker here is embedded as an instrument of measurement within its own sightlines, in much the same way an observer is always part of a measurement, and affects that which is being measured, in quantum mechanics. With "no fixed position," the speaker moves the reader through the timeless landscape of the poem itself, a physical paper "scored" for measurement by a granular observer—the poet fully awake in their ecological environment. —Amy Catanzano, author of Multiversal 

No Measure is a book of pithy mathematical seduction. Through an exploration of conventionally measurable systems (vanishing points and lines, geometries and grids), Kelly Krumrie’s visually compelling account of the deception of perceptual space challenges the very notion of absolute visibility and measure. Filled with arithmetical signs, Krumrie’s erudite prose is itself as mathematically theoretical as it is literary. Dynamically nonlinear! —Emily Leon, author of Triadic Intimacy

"Even the slightest words can astound: consider “scored,” as in “An instrument is scored for my measure. That is, it tells me what to look for.” I find this book to be such an instrument, and I am delighted to learn what I must look for—as, for instance, in the desert, to look for the sand, the particularity. The abstracted beauty of a place and a way of seeing the place are among the triumphs of Krumrie’s view, her poetics of the immeasurable astonishments of being fully in a desert, a place, a world. In the end, measureless." —Bin Ramke, author of Earth on Earth


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