Instruments of the True Measure

Poems

Laura Da' (Author)
Paperback ($16.95), Ebook ($9.95) Buy
Instruments of the True Measure charts the coordinates and intersections of land, history, and culture. Lyrical passages map the parallel lives of ancestral figures and connect dispossessions of the past to lived experiences of the present. Shawnee history informs the collection, and Da’s fascination with uncovering and recovering brings the reader deeper into the narrative of Shawnee homeland. Images of forced removal and frontier violence reveal the wrenching loss and reconfiguration of the Shawnee as a people. The body and history become lands that are measured and plotted with precise instruments.

Surveying and geography underpin the collection, but even as Da’ investigates these signifiers of measurement, she pushes the reader to interrogate their function within the stark atrocities of American history. Da’ laments this harsh dichotomy, observing that America’s mathematical point of beginning is located in the heart of her tribe’s homeland: “I do not have the Shawnee words to describe this place; the notation that is available to me is 40°38´32.61´´ N 80°31´9.76´´ W.”
“Da’ vividly re-creates the brutal wilderness that was nineteenth-century America and tracks the perpetuation of violence: human against human, nation against nation, human against nature.”—Booklist
 
“[Instruments of the True Measure] achieves an almost claustrophobic coherence as Da' elaborates a metaphoric system that binds arithmetic, cartography, Indian removal, and personal legacy.”—Publishers Weekly

“Laura Da’ aligns ‘cross-hatchings on a map’ with blood memory to create a cartography of resistance. Da’s vivid poems awaken startling clarity in understanding American history’s imprint upon our bodies—and that we, too, are ‘quartered’ by its wrath. Instruments of the True Measure is a necessary journey, a must-read.”—Sherwin Bitsui

“Da’ juxtaposes birth, removal, loss, illness, and survival with linguistic precision, carrying us deep into the story of America’s beginning in a wholly new way.”—Karenne Wood

“‘Negotiating these phantom obliterations on map vellum’ along the lines where Tecumseh stamped earthquake fault, sure, Da’ delivers a poetic sincere to the equations of time, space, place, and footing on this immaculate journey in soul-shaking, killer verse. Looking for a contender? This is it.”—Allison Adelle Hedge Coke

For Authors

The University of Arizona Press publishes the work of leading scholars from around the globe. Learn more about submitting a proposal, preparing your final manuscript, and publication.

Inquire

Requests

The University of Arizona Press is proud to share our books with booksellers, media, librarians, scholars, and instructors. Request reprint licenses, information on subsidiary rights and translations, accessibility files, review copies, and desk and exam copies.

Request

Support the Press

Support a premier publisher of academic, regional, and literary works. We are committed to sharing past, present, and future works that reflect the special strengths of the University of Arizona and support its land-grant mission.

Give