from My Emily Dickinson

By Susan Howe b. 1937 Susan Howe
     When I love a thing I want it and I try to get it. Abstraction of the particular from
the universal is the entrance into evil. Love, a binding force, is both envy and
emulation. HE (the Puritan God) is a realm of mystery and will always remain
unknowable, authoritarian, unpredictable. Between revealed will and secret will
Love has been torn in two.

     DUALISM: Pythagoras said that all things were divisible into two genera,
     good and evil; in the genus of good things he classified all perfect things
     such as light, males, repose, and so forth, whereas in the genus of evil
     he classified darkness, females, and so forth.
                              (Thomas Aquinas, “On the Power of God,” p. 84)

     Promethean aspiration: To be a woman and a Pythagorean. What is the communal
vision of poetry if you are curved, odd, indefinite, irregular, feminine. I go in
disguise. Soul under stress, thread of connection broken, fusion of love and
knowledge broken, visionary energy lost, Dickinson means this to be an ugly verse.
First I find myself a Slave, next I understand my slavery, finally I re-discover
myself at liberty inside the confines of known necessity. Gun goes on thinking of
the violence done to meaning. Gun watches herself watching.

Susan Howe, from My Emily Dickinson. Copyright © 1985 by Susan Howe. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation.

Source: My Emily Dickinson (New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1985)

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Poet Susan Howe b. 1937

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Subjects Religion, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Gender & Sexuality, Language & Linguistics

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Susan  Howe

Biography

One of the preeminent poets of her generation, Susan Howe is known for innovative verse that crosses genres and disciplines in its theoretical underpinnings and approach to history. Layered and allusive, her work draws on early American history and primary documents, weaving quotation and image into poems that often revise standard typography. Howe’s interest in the visual possibilities of language can be traced back to her . . .

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SUBJECT Religion, God & the Divine, Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Social Commentaries, History & Politics, Gender & Sexuality, Language & Linguistics

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Language Poetry

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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