10. Upon a Peak in Beinecke

The Beauty of the Book in the Poetry of Susan Howe

  1. Elisa New

Published Online: 28 MAR 2014

DOI: 10.1002/9781118854587.ch10

New England Beyond Criticism

New England Beyond Criticism

How to Cite

New, E. (ed) (2014) Upon a Peak in Beinecke, in New England Beyond Criticism, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118854587.ch10

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 MAR 2014
  2. Published Print: 9 MAY 2014

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118854532

Online ISBN: 9781118854587



  • New England;
  • poetry;
  • Susan Howe


Delicate and perishable objects, their structures resolving to non-structure, or non-structures to structure are central in Susan Howe's poetics. Typically, these objects to which Howe gives a nearly ritual power are ones she has personally salvaged and then subjected to a unique process of composition. Trained originally in the visual arts, Howe makes poetry as painters make art. From the personal libraries and scrapbooks of her own parents and forebears, from local libraries in small Massachusetts, Connecticut, Berkshire, and Adirondack towns, and from the great institutional archives where books deemed worthy of keeping reside – Harvard's Houghton and Yale's Beinecke – Howe retrieves the articulate textual remnants of her New England past. What makes the poetry of Susan Howe so different is that the poem is not a minister or medium of transparency. The poet does not stand outside.