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Without Saying

Overview

In Richard Howard’s new collection, voices of myth and memory prevail, if only by means of prevarication: the voice of Medea’s mother trying to explain her daughter’s odd behavior to an indiscreet interviewer; or first and last the voice of Henry James, late in life, faced with the disputed prospect of meeting L. Frank Baum and then, later on, “managing” not only Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird but his own unruly cast of characters, including Mrs. Wharton and young Hugh Walpole.

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Overview

In Richard Howard’s new collection, voices of myth and memory prevail, if only by means of prevarication: the voice of Medea’s mother trying to explain her daughter’s odd behavior to an indiscreet interviewer; or first and last the voice of Henry James, late in life, faced with the disputed prospect of meeting L. Frank Baum and then, later on, “managing” not only Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird but his own unruly cast of characters, including Mrs. Wharton and young Hugh Walpole.

Richard Howard’s honors include the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN Medal for Translation, and grants from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In this 14th collection of his own verse, the much-honored Howard (The Silent Treatment) returns to the kinds of poems that made him famous: elaborate dramatic monologues, impersonations and dialogues that are intricately alert to literary history and sexual desire. The first and longest poem imagines a three-way exchange of versified letters among Henry James, his California-based niece and L. Frank Baum, the man who created Oz. Another poem comprises a tetchy interview with the mother of Medea, the cruel princess of Greek tragedy and myth. A central sequence consists of letters from a comically (if morbidly) articulate fifth-grade class that asks its teacher to imagine a world without sexual intercourse . Pulitzer Prize-winner Howard is also nationally known for his translations (over 150 from the French), and what James (one of Howard's perennial models) called the "international theme" is again very much in evidence here; so is the abstract style the mature James himself did so much to invent. In these thoughtful new poems, Howard offers, and excels in, sophisticated verbal comedy, making his personae of all ages show and say more than they know. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781933527147
  • Publisher: Turtle Point Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2008
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland in 1929. He is the author of 13 volumes of poetry and has published over 150 translations from the French including works by Gide, Stendhal, De Beauvoir, Baudelaire and De Gaulle. He has edited the Library of America's edition of the Travel Writing of Henry James. His honors include the Pulitzer Prize.

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