Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University—Los Angeles in 2015 while also serving as an editor for Statement Magazine. He currently serves as a homework helper at the Apple Learning Center in Monterey Park, California, and also writes articles and film reviews online. His reviews for other poetry collections by Carol Smallwood have been published in Compulsive Reader and The Society of Classical Poets.
In the Measuring – Quantifying the Beauty of Life
In the Measuring
by Carol Smallwood
Publisher: Shanti Arts Publishing (October 7, 2018)
Paperback: 116 pages
Life itself is divided into minutes, hours, and every enigmatic feature associated with time. Distances can be measured in feet, yards, and miles. Life can sometimes be measured through personal achievements, downfalls, but still continues until it eventually ends. One of the key aspects of life is that measurements help people understand the world around them. Given the fact that writing is both qualitative and quantitative reveals the fundamental fact that great writing is both creative and written productively. Carol Smallwood is currently one of the most prolific writers in the modern world, and her poetry once again strikes a chord with readers given its examinations about life itself by using measurements in In the Measuring.
Carol Smallwood opens her newest poetry collection with a famous quote from Emily Dickinson: “The Truth must dazzle gradually / Or every man be blind." Those powerful words directly relate to the profoundly moving poems that Carol Smallwood wrote to remind readers that life must be lived step-by-step instead of being rushed. Time does pass by, and sometimes it might fly, but there really is no need to race against the clock because life itself is a continuous journey from birth until death. Some people might also be impatient, but waiting is actually necessary in order to understand all of the joys that life can offer. In fact, a day is measured by a 24-hour cycle, but it really depends on how people use their time that ultimately defines their true character. Some people might strive to make every moment in life count while others would waste their time instead of contributing to the world around them. Life itself is not always easy, but it must be lived in a way that acknowledges the fact that it is sometimes better to live a life that is measured in moments instead of minutes. Sometimes things do take time, but every moment spent on meaningful activities, such as helping other people or expressing kindness, can give people the chance to relish in all of the beauty that life can offer (but slowly and gradually, of course).
Through seventy-seven poems, Carol Smallwood once again presents her unique poetic style that deals with enigmatic concepts like time, space, and life itself. Some of her poem titles actually connect with the poems themselves to present writing that is in the form of the stream of consciousness writing technique. For example, the poem titled, "Movement" continues with the lines "is one way to tell if / something's alive (1-2). That statement is powerful because movement demonstrates crossing through time and space, but there is a warning that just because something that moves does not necessarily mean that it actually lives. That notion is true in both the literal and figurative senses because something is moving simply means getting from one place to another. In order to have a meaningful life, though, one must be willing to explore, grow, and change rather than remain stagnant. Such a powerful poem reveals the famous idea of the key difference between existing and living passionately.
Carol Smallwood is truly a gifted poetess who explores the humanity that unites all people. There is a sense of humility to her writing because her poetry reveals the fundamental fact that people are different and diverse, but still share common traits in spite of such differences. The themes of measurements and the beauty of the world suggests that all people can live harmoniously if they choose to accept and love one another rather than let conflicts tear them apart. Smallwood is an expert on how the ordinary really can be extraordinary, and that life is both simple and beautiful just because reality is what it is. Carol Smallwood once again reminds readers about the basic facts of life through the quantitative measurements that people must use in order to understand the world around them.