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About this poet

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on October 13, 1929. He received his BA from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government.

He is the author of numerous volumes of poetry, including Trappings: New Poems (Turtle Point Press, 1999); Like Most Revelations: New Poems (1994); Selected Poems (1991); No Traveller (1989); Findings (1971); Untitled Subjects (1969), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize; and Quantities (1962). He has published more than 150 translations from the French, including works by Gide, Giraudoux, Cocteau, Camus, De Beauvoir, De Gaulle, Breton, Robbe-Grillet, Barthes, Cioran, Claude Simon, Stendhal, and Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du mal, for which he received the 1983 American Book Award for translation. He is also the author of Alone with America: Essays on the Art of Poetry in the United States since 1950, which was first published in 1969 and expanded in 1980. In 1994 he edited the Library of America edition of the Travel Writings of Henry James, and in 1995 The Best American Poetry.

His honors include the Levinson Prize, the Harriet Monroe Memorial Prize, the National Institute of Arts and Letters Literary Award, the Ordre National du Mérite from the French government, and the PEN Translation Medal, as well as fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. He was President of PEN American Center (1979-80) and Poet Laureate of New York State (1994-96). Howard formerly held teaching positions at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale, where he was the Luce Visiting Scholar in 1983, and at the University of Houston from 1987 to 1997. He served as the poetry editor of The Paris Review and Western Humanities Review.

He is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets and lives in New York City where he teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.


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Like Most Revelations

Richard Howard, 1929

(after Morris Louis)

It is the movement that incites the form,
discovered as a downward rapture--yes,
it is the movement that delights the form,
sustained by its own velocity.  And yet

it is the movement that delays the form
while darkness slows and encumbers; in fact
it is the movement that betrays the form,
baffled in such toils of ease, until

it is the movement that deceives the form, 
beguiling our attention--we supposed
it is the movement that achieves the form.
Were we mistaken?  What does it matter if

it is the movement that negates the form?
Even though we give (give up) ourselves
to this mortal process of continuing,
it is the movement that creates the form.

From Like Most Revelations, by Richard Howard, published by Pantheon Books. Copyright © 1994 by Richard Howard. Used with permission.

Richard Howard

Richard Howard

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1929. He received his

by this poet

poem

A tribute to Robert Browning and in
celebration of the 65th birthday of Harold
Bloom, who made such tribute only natural.

   My Lord recalls Ferrara?  How walls 
rise out of water yet appear to recede
   identically
   into it, as if
built in