The Nonconformist's Memorial by Susan Howe
Poems (New Directions Paperbook)

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A poetic re-piecing of history.

The Nonconformist's Memorial is a gathering of four long sequences that underscores Susan Howe's reputation as one of the leading experimentalists writing today. How is a poet of language in history whose work resonates back through Melville, Dickinson, and Shelley to the seventeenth-century Metaphysicals and Puritans (the nonconformism of the title), and forward again to T. S. Eliot and the abstract expressionists. The sequences fall into two sections, "Turning" and "Conversion," in half-ironic nonconforming counterpart to Eliot's Four Quartets. Her collaging and mirror-imaging of words are concretions of verbal static, visual meditations on what can and cannot be said. For Howe, "Melville's Marginalia" is the essential poem in the collection, an approach to an elusive and allusive mind through Melville's own reading and the notations in his library books. This, says Howe, is "Language a wood for thought."

About Susan Howe

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Poet Susan Howe's books include My Emily Dickinson, The Nonconformist's Memorial, Souls of the Labadie Tract, Pierce-Arrow, That This, and many others. She is a professor of English at the State University of New York, Buffalo, and a 1998 Guggenheim fellow.
Published June 17, 1993 by New Directions. 160 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Fifteen years after first garnering acclaim for her small press publications, Howe's ( Singularities ) entry into mainstream publishing is inauspicious.

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