Susan Howe is a preeminent living American poet and scholar.
One of the preeminent poets of her generation, Susan Howe is known for innovative verse that crosses genres and disciplines in its theoretical underpinnings and approach to history. Layered and allusive, her work draws on her Irish roots and early American history weaving quotation and image into poems that often revise standard typography. Howe’s interest in the visual possibilities of language can be traced back to her initial interest in painting: Howe earned a degree from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in 1961, and enjoyed some success with gallery shows in New York. An idiosyncratic, important and increasingly influential American poet, Howe has received numerous honors and awards for her work, including most recently the 2010 Bolligen Prize and a Guggenheim fellowship. She has been a distinguished fellow at the Stanford Institute for Humanities, as well as the Anna-Maria Kellen Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. She taught for many years at the State University of New York-Buffalo, where she held the Samuel P. Capen Chair of Poetry and the Humanities.
“For nearly thirty years Howe has occupied a particular and invaluable place in American poetry. She is a rigorously skeptical and a profoundly visionary poet, a writer whose demystifying talent is matched by a passionate embrace of poetry's rejuvinating power. ”
— John Palattella, The Boston Review on Susan Howe
“Susan Howe’s imaginative and irresistible re-creation of’ the hidden life of the philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce, his relationship with the mysterious ‘gypsy’ wife Juliette, his worldly failures and spiritual triumphs, has the intensity of a Jamesian novel in which the figure in the carpet—in this case a figure comprised of Peirce’s astonishing visual texts, scenes from the Iliad, from the poems of Swinburne and Meredith, and finally the Tristan and Iseult legend—crystallize in an overarching vision of the poet’s own desire—and failure—to achieve oneness, union with another self. Part narrative, part lyric, this profound memory poem conveys, as do few poems of our time, what Howe refers to as ‘Minds trajected light.’”