Tag Archives: Kenyon Review

Bruce Beasley’s “Me Meaneth”

Bruce Beasley’s “Me Meaneth” (Kenyon Review, Summer 2011 issue — the one with the wonderful photo of a lizard-hatted woman on the cover) made me say to myself, after reading the last stanza the first time, “This is why I read contemporary poetry.” (You’ll find the poem in its entirety after the jump, with kind permission from the author.)

It’s a long poem (but it doesn’t feel long) that brought me, at the end, to a place I absolutely did not expect, but was completely prepared, by the poem, to come to. Such a fantastic feeling, as a reader, to simultaneously have a completely surprising moment and realize just how thoroughly the poem’s been setting you up for it all along.

“Me Meaneth” is seven sections mulling over the idea of meaning sparked by 2 lines from an old Scottish poem — “The speaned lambs mene their mithers/As they wimple ower the bent” — the meaning of the individual words, and the meaning of meaning too, among other things (a summary of a poem is a necessary evil, though how much is inherently left out is kind of like nails on a chalkboard to me).

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