The Midnight

( 1 )

Overview

New poetry and prose from a most acclaimed experimental American poet.
In The Midnight's five sections, three of poetry and two of prose amply illustrated with images Susan Howe has collected, we find bed hangings, unfinished lace, ghosts, family photographs, whispers, interjections, the fly-leaves of old books, The Master of Ballantrae, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Lady Macbeth, Thomas Sheridan, Michael Drayton, Olmsteda restless brood confronting, absorbing, and ...
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Overview

New poetry and prose from a most acclaimed experimental American poet.
In The Midnight's five sections, three of poetry and two of prose amply illustrated with images Susan Howe has collected, we find bed hangings, unfinished lace, ghosts, family photographs, whispers, interjections, the fly-leaves of old books, The Master of Ballantrae, Yeats, Emily Dickinson, Lewis Carroll, Lady Macbeth, Thomas Sheridan, Michael Drayton, Olmsteda restless brood confronting, absorbing, and refracting history and language. With an inspired and inimitable verbal energy which takes on shades of wit, insomnia, and terror, The Midnight becomes a kind of dialog in which the prose and poetry sections seem to be dreaming fitfully of each other.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Howe continues to unsettle easy assumptions about contemporary experimental American poetry, and, simultaneously, origin myths of the U.S., with carefully measured doses of early history, national and personal: "I am assembling materials for a recurrent return somewhere. Familiar sound textures, deliverances, vagabond quotations, preservations, wilderness shrubs, little resuscitated patterns. Historical or miraculous. Thousands of correlations have to be sliced and spliced." More immediately autobiographical and less uniform than books like The Europe of Trusts or Pierce-Arrow, Howe's latest can seem scattered on a first reading, but soon resolves itself into a remarkably cohesive invitation to imagine oneself into historical roles that have been laid away in books: "Come away-This way, this way-Calvinists, Congregationalists, Anabaptists, Ranters, Quakers, Shakers, Sandemans, Rosicrucians, Pietists, reformers, pilgrims, traveling preachers, strolling players, peddlers, pirates, captives, mystics, embroiderers, upholsterers, itinerant singers, penmen, imposters." Howe finds resonance in the smallest inscription on a family ledger, taking as guidance Emersonian aphorism: "The poorest experience is rich enough for all the purposes of expressing thought." The smallest details thus come to replace the big picture, as when hearing a midnight sound "echoed and re-echoed only." Like Agnes Varda in her film The Gleaners and I, Howe demonstrates that the artist's unpredictable path to knowledge, generous in its digressions and attentions to the obscure, is revealing, suspenseful and necessary. (May 23) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Howe alternates poetry, prose, and visuals to produce a phatasmagoric work that investigates our cultural roots. Adventurous readers shouldn't miss. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811215381
  • Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 5/23/2003
  • Series: New Directions Paperbook Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Acclaimed poet Susan Howe, winner of the last Bollingen Prize, is the author of the seminal work, My Emily Dickinson.
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Table of Contents

Bed Hangings I 1
Scare Quotes I 41
Bed Hangings II 87
Scare Quotes II 113
Kidnapped 147
Illustrations 175
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2004

    Brilliant

    Howe has that rare ability to make sense out of not making sense...the art of not forcing sense upon a sensless world.

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