Skip to content

Universally recognized as a major poet, Susan Howe should also be known as the most innovative, the most thrilling essayist writing today.

Eliot Weinberger on Susan Howe's The Quarry

The Quarry

by Susan Howe


A powerful selection of Susan Howe's previously uncollected essays, The Quarry moves backward chronologically, from her brand-new "Vagrancy in the Park" (about Wallace Stevens) through such essential texts as "The Disappearance Approach," "Personal Narrative," "Sorting Facts; or, 47 Ways of Looking at Chris Marker," "Frame Structures," and "Where Should the Commander Be" to end with her seminal early art criticism, "The End of Art."

Taken together, The Quarry and The Birth-mark (published in tandem) map the intellectual territory of one of America's most important poets.


Available: November 10 2015

The Birth-mark

by Susan Howe


Susan Howe reads our intellectual inheritance as a series of civil wars, where each text is a series of battlefields on which a strange lawless author confronts interpreters and editors eager for settlement.

Howe approaches Anne Hutchinson, Mary Rowlandson, Cotton Mather, Hawthorne, Emerson, Melville, and Emily Dickinson—as a poet-scholar. Her insights, fierce and original, are rooted in her seminal textural scholarship in examining the editorial histories of landmark works. In the process, Howe uproots settled institutionalized roles of men and women as well as of poetry and prose. The Birth-mark, first published in the mid-1990s and now published in tandem with her new selected essays, The Quarry, joins the New Directions canon of a dozen Susan Howe titles.


Available: November 10 2015

My Emily Dickinson

Nonfiction by Susan Howe

with a contribution by Eliot Weinberger

With exacting rigor and wit, Howe pulls Dickinson free of all the sterile and stuffy belle-of-Amherst cotton wool and shows the poet in touch with elemental forces of nature, and as a prophet in all her radical zealotry and poetic glory. Her Emily Dickinson is a unique American genius, a demon lover of poetry––no neurasthenic spider artist. Howe draws into her discussion Browning, Wuthering Heights, the Civil War, "Master," the great Puritan preachers, captivity narratives, Shakespeare, and phantom lovers. As she chases away narrow and reductive feminist readings of the poet, Howe finds instead a radically powerful and true feminism at work in Dickinson, focusing the whole on that heart-stopping poem "My Life had stood––a Loaded Gun." A remarkable and passionate poet-on-poet engagement, My Emily Dickinson frees a great poet from the fetters of being read as a special female neurotic, and sets her against a fiery open sky where "Perception of an object means loosing and losing it... only Mutability certain."


Get Updates by Email

Follow us