Howe’s words give the impression of echoing another, hidden poetry of which we catch only fragments, like an opera sung in another room—except that the other room is death, or history, or the ineffable.

—Geoffrey O’Brien, The Village Voice

Souls of the Labadie Tract finds Susan Howe exploring (or unsettling) one of her favorite domains, the psychic past of America, with Jonathan Edwards and Wallace Stevens as her presiding tutelary geniuses.

Souls Of The Labadie Tract

Poetry by Susan Howe

Souls of the Labadie Tract finds Susan Howe exploring (or unsettling) one of her favorite domains, the psychic past of America, with Jonathan Edwards and Wallace Stevens as her presiding tutelary geniuses. Three long poems interspersed with prose pieces, Souls of the Labadie Tract takes as its starting point the Labadists, a Utopian Quietest sect that moved from the Netherlands to Cecil County, Maryland, in 1684. The community dissolved in 1722. In Souls, Howe is lured by archives and libraries, with their ghosts, cranks, manuscripts and scraps of material. One thread winding through Souls is silken: from the epigraphs of Edwards (“the silkworm is a remarkable type of Christ…”) and of Stevens (“the poet makes silk dresses out of worms”) to the mulberry tree (food of the silkworms) and the fragment of a wedding dress that ends the book. Souls of the Labadie Tract presents Howe with her signature hybrids of poetry and prose, of evocation and refraction:

There it is there it is—you want the great wicked city Oh I wouldn’t I wouldn’t

It’s not only that you’re not It’s what wills and will not.

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Paperback (published November 1, 2007)

ISBN
9780811217187
Price US
16.95
Price CN
19
Trim Size
6x9
Page Count
144

Susan Howe

American poet and essayist

Howe’s words give the impression of echoing another, hidden poetry of which we catch only fragments, like an opera sung in another room—except that the other room is death, or history, or the ineffable.

—Geoffrey O’Brien, The Village Voice

One of America’s foremost experimental poets.

Publishers Weekly

No other poet now writing has Howe’s power to bring together narrative and lyric, scholarship and historical speculation, found text and pure invention.

—Marojrie Perloff

For nearly thirty years, Howe has occupied a particular and invaluable place in American poetry. She’s a rigorously skeptical and a profoundly visionary poet, a writer whose demystifying intelligence is matched by a passionate embrace of poetry’s rejuvenating power.

—John Palattella, The Boston Review

Howe turns the English of a self steeped in books, such that every word, as in Scripture, glows with an almost moral quality.

Artforum