Marie Howe was born in 1950 in Rochester, NY. She worked
as a newspaper reporter and teacher before receiving her
MFA from Columbia University in 1983.
Her most recent book, The Kingdom of Ordinary Time
(W. W. Norton, 2009) was a finalist for the Los Angeles
Times Book Prize. Her other collections of poetry include What the Living Do (1998) and The Good Thief (Persea, 1988), which was selected by Margaret
Atwood for the 1987 National Poetry Series.
What the Living Do is in many ways an elegy for her
brother, John, who died of AIDS in 1989. In 1995, she
co-edited the anthology In the Company of My Solitude:
American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (Persea, 1995).
About poetry and everyday life, Howe notes:
This might be the most difficult task for us in
postmodern life: not to look away from what is actually
happening. To put down the iPod and the e-mail and the phone.
To look long enough so that we can look through it—like
The poet Stanley Kunitz has called
her poetry "luminous, intense, and eloquent, rooted in an
abundant inner life." He selected her for a Lavan Younger Poets Award from the Academy of American Poets in 1988.
Her other awards include grants from the John Simon Guggenheim
Foundation, the Bunting Institute, and the National Endowment
for the Arts. She has taught at Tufts University and Dartmouth
College, among others. Currently she teaches at Sarah
Lawrence College, New York University, and Columbia University. She
lives in New York City with her daughter.