Synopses & Reviews
"Fanny Howe's strangely hushed but busy landscape keeps leading us into it until we realize we're lost but wouldn't want to be anywhere else. This book is a strange joy."John Ashbery
"This complexly articulate writer uses poetry as a final resource. All the authority of her power becomes explicit in these poems, the musing, twisting thoughts and persons woven into a meld of great force and beauty. This is life if it could speak. Here it does."Robert Creeley
"Fanny Howe is a sly, wicked poet, always shifting between the social, the political, as well as the linguistic and literary concerns of an artist always writing from the cutting edge."Quincy Troupe
"Fanny Howe is the closest thing to Emily Dickinson since Dickinson herself. These taut and sometimes witty poems are centripetal; they inscribe moments of a spiritual and psychological quest, word by packed word, image by edged image."Albert Gelpi, Stanford University
"Fanny Howe writes against the grain of language and the mind. These serial works, collected from a lifetime's steady contemplation, weave piece by piece a texture of such difficulty. Most religious poetry stands on faith, emotion, or certainty; Howe's work begins and ends with questions, and immense interiority in the shape of the physical world itself."Norman Fischer, Co-abbot, San Francisco Zen Center
"Fanny Howe employs a sometimes fierce, always passionate, spareness in her lifelong parsing of the exchange between matter and spirit. Her work displays as well a political urgency, that is to say, a profound concern for social justice and for the soundness and fate of the polis, the city on a hill. Writes Emerson, The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. Heres the luminous and incontrovertible proof." Michael Palmer, author of The Lion Bridge
One of the best and most respected experimental poets in the United States, Fanny Howe has published more than twenty books, mostly with small presses, and this publication of her selected poems is a major event.
Howe's theme is the exile of the spirit in this world and the painfully exciting, tiny margin in which movement out of exile is imaginable and perhaps possible. Her best poems are simultaneously investigations of that possibility and protests against the difficulty of salvation.
Boston is the setting of some of the early poems, and Ireland, the birthplace of Howe's mother, is the home of O'Clock, a spiritually piquant series of short poems included in Selected Poems.
The metaphysics and the physics of this world play off each other in these poems, and there is a toughness to Howe's unique, fertile nervousness of spirit. Her spare style makes a nest for the soul:
Zero built a nest
in my navel. Incurable
Longing. Blood too
From violent actions
It's a nest belonging to one
But zero uses it
And its pleasure is its own
from The Quietist
About the Author
Fanny Howe is Professor of Writing and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. She is the author of more than twenty books of fiction and poetry (most recently, One Crossed Out, 1997).