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Description - Selected Poems of Fanny Howe by Fanny Howe

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

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780520222632
ISBN-10: 0520222636
Format: Paperback
(210mm x 140mm x 16mm)
Pages: 213
Imprint: University of California Press
Publisher: University of California Press
Publish Date: 29-Mar-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - Selected Poems of Fanny Howe by Fanny Howe

US Kirkus Review » Howe is the author of more than 20 books, encompassing both fiction and poetry, most of which have been published by small presses (the most recent in 1997). This marks her first collection ofearlier and more recent poems published by a university press. She is Professor of Writing and Literature at the University of California at San Diego. This volume traces the odyssey of Howe's evolution as a poet over the past two decades, from Boston (the setting of some of her earliest poems) to Ireland (her ancestral and spiritual homeland) to California (her current home). Considered one of the leading `experimental` poets in the US, Howe is noted for her spare, almost austere style, yet there is much tenderness and even joy in life expressed in these verses. At times she proves herself capable of Zen-like detachment, as in her oft-quoted stanza, `Zero built a nest in my navel.` But she occasionally loses that composure, as in her lament that, `Loss is the fulfillment of the Law,` or when she asks, `Why be obedient to a world that will end?` Her convictions may appear tentative, but only because her reality remains nascent, always in the process of becoming. She strives to get to the source of meaning, to `concentrate on the consciousness the sea comes out of.` She is not afraid to stare into the gaping maw of the horror vacui, but, unlike a good many of her contemporaries, she does not accept the over-the-counter existential palliatives. Howe's poetry is fabricated from questions rather than certainties and arises, like the revelations of more conventional mystics, from contemplation in solitude. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Fanny Howe

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).

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