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About this poet

Susan Howe was born on June 10, 1937, in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the author of several books of poems and two volumes of criticism. Her most recent poetry collections are That This (New Directions, 2010), The Midnight (2003), Kidnapped (2002), The Europe of Trusts (2002), Pierce-Arrow (1999), Frame Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979 (1996), The Nonconformist's Memorial (1993), The Europe of Trusts: Selected Poems (1990), and Singularities (1990).

Her books of criticism are The Birth-Mark: Unsettling the Wilderness in American Literary History (1993), which was named an "International Book of the Year" by the Times Literary Supplement, and My Emily Dickinson (1985).

Her work also has appeared in Anthology of American Poetry, edited by Cary Nelson (Oxford University Press, 1999); The Norton Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry (2003); and Poems for the Millennium, Volume 2, edited by Pierre Joris and Jerome Rotherberg (1998).

She has received two American Book Awards from the Before Columbus Foundation and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999. In 1996 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and in the winter of 1998 she was a distinguished fellow at the Stanford Institute of the Humanities. In 2011, Howe received Yale University's Bollingen Prize in American Poetry.

She was a longtime professor of English at the State University of New York at Buffalo and held the Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2000. She lives in Guilford, Connecticut.


Multimedia

 

 

Pythagorean Silence [excerpt]

Susan Howe, 1937
1.

age of earth and us all chattering

a sentence   or character
suddenly

steps out to seek for truth   fails 
falls

into a stream of ink   Sequence 
trails off

must go on

waving fables and faces   War 
doings of the war

manoeuvering between points 
between

any two points     which is 
what we want   (issues at stake)

bearings and so

holes in a cloud   are minutes passing 
which is

which
view   odds of images swept rag-tag

silver and grey
epitomes

seconds   forgeries engender 
(are blue)   or blacker

flocks of words flying together   tense 
as an order

cast off to crows

From The Europe of Trusts by Susan Howe. Copyright © 1990 by Susan Howe. Reprinted by permission of New Directions. All rights reserved.

Susan Howe

Susan Howe

Susan Howe was born in 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts. She was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets in 2000.

by this poet

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poem
Iseult stands at Tintagel
on the mid stairs between 
light and dark symbolism 
Does she stand for phonic 
human overtone for outlaw 
love the dread pull lothly 
for weariness actual brute 
predestined fact for phobic 
falling no one talking too 
Tintagel ruin of philosophy 
here is known change here 
is come
poem

A work of art is a world of signs, at least to the poet’s nursery
bookshelf sheltered behind the artist’s ear. I recall each little
motto howling its ins and outs to those of us who might as
well be on the moon illu illu illu

                                     _

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