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October 1, 1990
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v2.1 Reference


A celebration of language by a gifted poet.

About the Author

SUSAN HOWE, the author of thirteen books of poetry, has been an actress and assistant stage designer at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, a painter, radio producer, and literary critic. The daugher of a Harvard Law School professor and an Irish playright and actress, she graduated from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in 1961 and received first prize in painting. During the next ten years her work evolved from painting to drawing with words to writing poetry exclusively in 1971. She has been inspired by Charles Olson, painter Agnes Martin, and historian Richard Slotkin, as well as by Emily Dickinson and early Puritan writers, including Cotton Mather. In 1985 she was one of ten American poets at the New Poetics Colloquium in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she returned in 1987 as visiting foreign artist-in-residence. During the summer of 1988 she was one of five American poets at the Recontres Internationales de Poésie Contemporaine in Tarascon, France. She is Professor of English at the State University of New York-Buffalo. She has received the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award twice, in 1980 for Secret History of the Divided Line, and in 1987 for her critical study, My Emily Dickinson. She has also received the first Roy Harvey Pearce Award for a Poet and Critic for her book The Birth-mark (Wesleyan, 1993). Her most recent works are Frame Structures: Early Poems, 1974-1979 (1995), and her essay "Sorting Facts; or Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker," in Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film (Wesleyan, 1996), edited by Charles Warren. Howe lives in Guilford, Connecticut, when she is not teaching in Buffalo.


"Howe's poems are fact of a consummately gifted ear and a singularly compassionate intelligence. She sounds the complex particulars of history's echoes with an intensity altogether her own. This is major work in every sense"—Robert Creeley

"Among contemporary poets, Susan Howe is unique in her ability to make history her own, to transfrom the archive and chronicle into an elusive, elliptical, and yet deeply personal drama in which the New England of the Indian wars, the New England of the Thoreau enter the consciousness of the woman artist, working in the American fin de siècle. As in such earlier works as Defenestration of Prague, the real hero of these 'poems including history' is language — the language charges with conflicting sounds and meanings, whose sedimentation gradually reveals this visionary poet's superb Singularities."—Marjorie Perloff

"Susan Howe weaves at the tears in the all-too-violent fabric that imparts national identity to America. She sings of origins and hears the blanks firing in the night of her exploding syllables."—Charles Bernstein
Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819511942 : singularities-howe
Paperback / softback
80 Pages
$15.95 USD

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The Birth-mark

Susan Howe
Apr 1993 - Wesleyan University Press
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