This morning I interviewed and moderated a discussion with Susan Howe, and last night Susan read her work, including the opening pages of Melville's Marginalia, sections of The Midnight, and the poems in a series called "118 Westerly Terrace" (the address of Wallace Stevens's home). Click here for links to audio and video recordings of both events.
I'm reading Susan Howe's Melville's Marginalia. Years ago, at the start of my own antiquarianism, I got deeply into writers' marginalia myself.I'm reading Susan Howe's Melville's Marginalia. Years ago, at the start of my own antiquarianism, I got deeply into writers' marginalia myself. I looked into Melville's reading, as have many scholars over the decades. He was one of those who left traces of his responses to reading. This morning I went to the web--of course--following an impulse to see if the scholarship was still out of the way, out of print, hard to find - itself, in short, marginal. But no. There's a fabulous web site that shows us everything. Here's your link. Go deep.
New at PennSound. When Susan Howe visited Rachel Blau DuPlessis' class at Temple University, in December 1986, Rachel had the presence of mind to record the conversation. And years later she re-found the tape, gave it to us at PennSound, whereupon we converted the recording from cassette to digital audio. Now Jenny Lesser has segmented the whole recording into short "singles," by topic. Here is the list of the topics (and recording lengths). Links to these, and to the whole discussion, are of course available at PennSound's Susan Howe author page:
1. background to class discussion on Stein, Plath and Niedecker (4:35) 2. the poetics of "The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" and self censorship in the work of female writers (10:58) 3. the sense of crime in Howe's work (5:19) 4. female symbols in "The Defenestration of Prague" (8:01) 5. on pastoral components and female space in "The Defenestration of Prague" and "The Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson" (3:16) 6. on Howe's beginnings in the theater and as a visual artist 7. on the use of contradiction and fragment in the work of female writers (7:28) 8. duplicity in the works of Howe and Wallace Stevens (6:37) 9. Emily Dickinson as an experimental poet (0:58) 10. intertextuality in Howe's work (3:18) 11. on "The Liberties" and reaching an audience (7:08) 12. on Howe's writing strategy as a "post-objectivist" strategy and the idea that when nothing is said everything is said (6:20) 13. on equality and difference in feminist debates, power, and fascism (3:53) 14. how Emily Dickinson abolished categories (2:16) 15. the multiple audiences and functions of poetry (5:22) 16. on embedding in "The Liberties" (4:44) 17. on the meanings of birds, days of the week, and sculpture in "The Liberties" (7:26) 18. deciphering codes in "The Liberties" (4:14)