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4.19  ·  Rating Details ·  110 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Through Pierce and his wife Juliette, a lady of shadowy antecedents, Howe creates an intriguing nexus that explores the darker, melancholy sides of the fin de siècle Anglo-American intelligentsia. Besides 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 poem-sequences that comprise ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published June 17th 1999 by New Directions (first published June 1999)
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Lee Foust
Oct 23, 2015 Lee Foust rated it really liked it
One thing I have learned from teaching uninterested university students about literature is that there's a threshold of effort dividing "confusing" from "relatable." That is to say, there are books that are too much trouble to read to understand and other books that are comprehensible enough, that required no more effort to understand than was given them and are therefore, not really good--because any effort at all is surely "bad" and takes away from the much valued freedom not to read, or think ...more
Aug 25, 2007 Rodney rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Pierce-Arrow has a reach and ambition few books of history (or poetry) can match. Howe makes fascinating use of biographical fragments from the lives of American philosopher Charles S. Pierce and his 'gypsy' wife Juliette, George Meredith, A.C. Swinburne, Thomas Love Peacock, Alexander Pope, and Theodore Watts-Dunton, with dollops of Husserl, the Iliad, and the Tristan & Isolde story thrown in for good measure. All these figures turn out to be connected in a "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" kind ...more
Mar 07, 2008 Joe rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
The sort of toggling Howe does between essay and poem in The Midnight might have opened this one up a bit more, especially as the ostensible subject matter is so obscure. I felt more rewarded when I got to couplets like "Duration flowing away / passes into emptiness" & lines in the fairly triumphant final poem--"Motif of retreating figure / arrayed beyond expression / huddled unintelligible air." Historical persons reduced to textual fragments, frustrated genius, figures being lost in other ...more
Sep 16, 2007 Jen rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Poets, chercheurs, archivers, library fans, historians
For me, a more difficult going into this collection of Howe's. I felt daunted by the immense layers of textual and historical references and at first kept having to start again. But then I let myself go into the present, the presence of the text itself, its explorations of Peirce, of Swinburne, of the Illiad, of so many other texts, myths, personal and other histories, until it wasn't about what I knew or fully put together as a whole but the nettings of language, image, life and lives lived and ...more
Cooper Renner
Sep 08, 2014 Cooper Renner rated it really liked it
A strange and inviting journey. Howe weaves together bits of information from the lives of the philosopher Peirce (sic), Swinburne, George Meredith and Thomas Love Peacock in not necessarily linear or "sensible" ways. I'm often at a complete loss as to what Howe may be "saying", but enjoy the ride--the sharp comments or images that surface at times, the detached voice, etc.
Greg Bem
Jan 08, 2016 Greg Bem rated it it was amazing
My head responded to logic with logic, where discovery of the heart of the text was a true love and world of lasting passions.
Feb 27, 2009 Kent rated it really liked it
Sometimes when I read Susan Howe I think, hey, is she related to Sonic Youth in some way? And I guess with this book it comes up because of the whole Charles Pierce versus Mildred Pierce connection. But it's also the extra intense integrity that the Howe and the Sonic Youth share. This book, as with other, has Howe giving the reader a context she's soon going to screw around with. This time, well, I didn't feel like I really had the same handle on the lyric exploration. Though I did like the mov ...more
Nov 21, 2007 Tye rated it liked it
Recommends it for: voyagers
I'm still in the process of re-reading this book, but I have to say it's exciting me in a dazzling kind of way that, oddly, is not growing from the intellectual (which would be the obvious place for a book of experimental "poetry" named after a turn-of-the-century semiotician who was friends with William James, and a luxury car). It's opened the whitespace of the page out into the world and it's bleeding everywhere. It's a goddamn massacre up in here.
Jan 31, 2009 Bronwen rated it really liked it
A birthday gift from Bonnie Emerick, this book has a lot in common with Howe’s recent The Midnight, which I got a chance to hear her talk about.

Part essay, part scrap-book documenting doodles, notes, photographs, part lyric short lines that shift but don’t settle. Howe looks for connections and gaps.
Jan 02, 2011 Ellie rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
Not my favorite of her works: but still wonderful.
Ellie NYC
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Susan Howe was born in 1937 in Boston, Massachusetts. She is the author of several books of poems and two volumes of criticism. Her most recent poetry collections are The Midnight (2003), Kidnapped (2002), The Europe of Trusts (2002), Pierce-Arrow (1999), Frame Structures: Early Poems 1974-1979 (1996), The Nonconformist's Memorial (1993), The Europe of Trusts: Selected Poems (1990), and Singularit ...more
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