From 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.
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A distinct and singular talent. ...[Howe] is perhaps the closest thing we have to another Emily Dickinson or Gertrude Stein. -- Buffalo News, R. D. Pohl, 3 August 2003
A phangasmagoric work that investigates our cultural roots. Adventurous readers shouldn't miss. -- Library Journal, 15 May 2003
Demonstrates less what poets do with history than what history does to poets....Meanings are nested in Howe -- Rain Taxi, Michelle Mitchell-Foust, Winter 2003
Howe continues to unsettle easy assumptions about contemporary experimental American poetry. -- Publishers Weekly, 19 May 2003
Howe has continued to produce work of meditative urgency unmatched in recent American poetry. -- Voice Literary Supplement
Howe's genius is to expose the occluded past while resolutely preserving history's basic alterity. -- Bookforum, Dodie Bellamy, Summer 2003
Howe's images have...a surreal, dreamlike atmosphere reminiscent of Borges at his sharpest. -- Kirkus Reviews
Howe's most profound exploration to date...a book that improves with each reading. -- Robert Baker, American Book Review, March/April 2004
Nothing quite like it exists in British or American writing today. -- Richard Sieburth, The Times Literary Supplement
[D]emonstrates less what poets do with history than what history does to poets.... Meanings are nested in Howe. -- Michelle Mitchell-Foust, Rain Taxi, Winter 2003