Susan Howe

March 22–23, 2010


Susan Howe Susan Howe has defied pat definitions of contemporary avant-garde poetry and has created a diverse body work in varied media and across many disciplines. Her critical work includes the book My Emily Dickinson, which has been called "one of our seminal works of creative scholarship" by the poet Michael Palmer. Ms. Howe has been active as an actress, a painter, and a radio producer, and has collaborated with experimental musician David Grubbs on a series of interdisciplinary projects including two audio compilations - Thiefth and Songs of the Labadie Tract.

Ms. Howe has received two American Book Awards and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999. In 1996 she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship and in 1998 she was a distinguished fellow at the Stanford Institute of the Humanities. She was elected a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets in 2000.

Ms. Howe is author of many books of poetry, including Europe of Trusts: Selected Poems, Frame Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979 and The Midnight. Her work has appeared in the anthologies The Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry and In the American Tree.

On Howe's performance of her own writing, the poet Maureen Owen observes: "Listening to her read is like staring into a lake enchanted mesmerized drawn closer and closer until the tip of the nose touches water & then swiftly one senses danger danger a warning a voice saying No, no wrong way not the lake not the lake over here & yes she's over there now & the magnetic pull begins again."

Reading for the Kelly Writers House Fellows Program, March 22, 2010

  1. introduction by Al Filreis (6:06): MP3
  2. introduction by Cecilia Corrigan (5:46): MP3
  3. introduction by Susan Howe (0:57): MP3
  4. from Secret History of the Dividing Line (1:22): MP3
  5. discussing "Melville's Marginalia" (2:00): MP3
  6. from the closing of "Melville's Marginalia" (1:01): MP3
  7. the preface of "Melville's Marginalia (11:09): MP3
  8. from Bedhangings (17:09): MP3
  9. "Errand" (2:07): MP3
  10. from Souls of the Labadie Tract (10:14): MP3

complete reading (1:00:11): MP3 / MOV

Discussion during the the Kelly Writers House Fellows Program, March 23, 2010

  1. introduction by Al Filreis (4:55): MP3
  2. on Wilson Walker Cowen (6:50): MP3
  3. owning Emily Dickinson (1:59): MP3
  4. wild libraries (5:53): MP3
  5. the Adriondacks (5:54): MP3
  6. on the writing environment (3:08): MP3
  7. on Marta L. Wenrer's Dickinson Project (2:11): MP3
  8. the rhetoric of terror (5:43): MP3
  9. the violence of selving (3:13): MP3
  10. on Wallace Stevens (7:50): MP3
  11. in the stacks (3:53): MP3
  12. books as transitional objects (5:00): MP3
  13. marginalia and dirty laundry (4:19): MP3
  14. the recuperation of past poets (5:13): MP3
  15. reading from Frame Structures (6:43): MP3

complete recording (1:12:44): MP3 / MOV