Pierce-Arrow, Susan Howe's newest book of poems, takes as its point of departure the figure of Charles S. Peirce, the allusive nineteenth-century philosopher-scientist and founder of pragmatism, a man always on the periphery of the academic and social establishment yet intimately conjoined with them by birth and upbringing. Through Peirce and his wife Juliette, a lady of shadowy antecedents, Howe creates an intriguing nexus that explores the darker, melancholy sides of the fin-de-siecle Anglo-American intelligentsia. George Meredith and his wife Mary Ellen, Swinburne and his companion Theodore Watts-Dunton, are among those who also find a place in the three long poem-sequences that comprise the book. Howe's historical linkings, resonant with the sorrows of love and loss and the tragedies of war, create a compelling canvas of associations. "It's the blanks and gaps," she says, "that to me actually represent what poetry is--the connections between seemingly unconnected things--as if there is a place and might be a map to thought, when we know there is not."
New Directions Publishing Corporation
June 17, 1999
6.0 X 0.49 X 8.94 inches | 0.55 pounds
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About the Author
Susan Howe has won the Bollingen Prize, the Frost Medal, and the Griffin Award. She is the author of such seminal works as Debths, ThatThis, TheMidnight, MyEmilyDickinson, TheQuarry, and TheBirthmark.