In Concordance, it is as if a manuscript, along with the library used to write it, were both wrecked and then washed ashore, mostly lost, although what remains was carefully recombined and artfully reconstructed into something beautiful, monstrous, and new.
—John Vincler, Poetry Foundation

A new poetry book by Susan Howe is always an event

Concordance

Poetry by Susan Howe

“Only artworks are capable of transmitting chthonic echo-signals,” Susan Howe has said. In Concordance, she has created a fresh body of work transmitting vital signals from a variety of archives. “Since,” a semiautobiographical prose poem, opens the collection: concerned with first and last things, meditating on the particular and peculiar affinities between law and poetry, it ranges from the Permian time of Pangaea through Rembrandt and Dickinson to the dire present. “Concordance” a collage poem originally published as a Grenfell Press limited edition, springs from slivers of poetry and marginalia, cut from old concordances and facsimile editions of Milton, Swift, Herbert, Browning, Dickinson, Coleridge, and Yeats, as well as from various field guides to birds, rocks, and trees: the collages’ “rotating prisms” form the heart of the book. The final poem, “Space Permitting,” is collaged from drafts and notes Thoreau sent to Emerson and Margaret Fuller’s friends and family in Concord while on a mission to recover Fuller’s remains from a shipwreck on Fire Island. The fierce ethic of salvage in these three very different pieces expresses the vitalism in words, sounds, and syllables—the telepathic spirit of all things singing into air.

Buy from:

Paperback (published May 26, 2020)

ISBN
9780811229593
Price US
16.95
Trim Size
6x9
Page Count
112

Susan Howe

American poet and essayist

In Concordance, it is as if a manuscript, along with the library used to write it, were both wrecked and then washed ashore, mostly lost, although what remains was carefully recombined and artfully reconstructed into something beautiful, monstrous, and new.
—John Vincler, Poetry Foundation
Howe is a poet who has spent her career reminding us that our experiences of meaning and sound are synchronous. Her poems argue this in form as well as content. Delighting in new paths around words, exploring their visual, acoustic, sonic possibilities, she revels in “affinities and relations,” in “signals and transmissions.” Howe imbues her investigations of fragment and snippet with such longing that it is hard not to yearn, from one’s own desk, for deep encounter.
The New York Times
Among the worthiest heirs to the high-modernist line in American poetry. Howe’s own ‘American aesthetic of uncertainty’ shuttles among forms, genres, and states of matter. What connects it all are Howe’s powers of insight and the implied relations between her sparkling trouvailles.
—Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker
In the collage poems language is both word and image. Source texts are cut up and repurposed, overlaid, truncated—they scatter across the page and spill into the gutter, run to the outside margins. Small blocks of quotations are buttressed and broidered by other quotations, slender and enigmatic, running in the opposite direction; some are illegible, serving as shapes, gnomic geometries born of inscrutable utterances, to embody, in graphic or poetic form, a reconstituted approach to reading and writing, one that reaches beyond the page, through difficulty, silence, and stutters, to another kind of knowledge.
—Emily LaBarge, Bookforum