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.
“Howe's images, being historical as well as biographical, have the eerie shadowing of ghosts half-believed in, giving ... a surreal, dream-like atmosphere reminiscent of Borges at his sharpest.”
“Monomania has its rewards – an incantatory power that shines through. Howe's images, being historical as well as biographical, have the eerie shading of ghosts half-believed in, giving a surreal, dreamlike atmosphere reminiscent of Borges at his sharpest.”
“An important voice in contemporary literature, a signal inheritor of an American poetic tradition. Like Dickinson, her Massachusetts muse, Howe turns the English of a self steeped in books such that every word, as in Scripture, glows with an almost moral quality.”