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Register of the Susan Howe Papers MSS 201
MSS 201  
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Collection Overview
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Papers of Susan Howe, American poet. The papers primarily document Howe's literary correspondence, poetry manuscripts, manuscripts of readings and talks, personal and working journals and art/poetry installations dating from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s. A small group of personal and family materials is also included. The bulk of the collection consists of Howe's working manuscripts and journals. The accession processed in 2003 continues to document Susan Howe's career as a writer and professor (primarily at the State University of New York at Buffalo), as well as elements of her personal life. The bulk of the materials date from 1990 to 1997 with some biographical and correspondence files from 1953 to 1989.
Born in 1937, Susan Howe's career as a poet grew from a painting and drawing career and began, with the exception of publications of earlier poems in serials, with the 1974 edition of Hinge Picture (New York, Telephone Books). Closely associated with the late 1970s and 1980s Language Poets' movement, Susan Howe's poetry and scholarship are most accurately characterized as language based and experimental. Howe's early training and careers in drama and visual arts--she was an actress and an assistant stage designer at the Gate Theatre in Dublin and graduated from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in 1961--are reflected in the dramatic sections of her poems, as in The Liberties, and in her attention to the visual aspect of the page. Her mother, Mary Manning Howe, an Irish actress and playwright, and her father, Mark DeWolfe Howe, a Harvard Law School professor, each appear as influences in her poetry. Much of the subject and location of her work--her close affinity with Emily Dickinson and early American history, as in Articulation of Sound Forms in Time, her interest in Jonathan Swift's Irish residency in The Liberties--reveals Howe's Irish ancestry combined with hard-biting New England literary heritage and politics.
28.4 Linear feet (68 archives boxes, 4 card file boxes, 6 oversize folders)
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
The diaries dated 1977 - 1981 and located in Box 11, Folders 4-8 are restricted; access requires the written permission of Susan Howe. The letters written by Mary Manning Howe are restricted; access requires the written permission of Susan Howe and Fanny Howe. Letters of recommendation located in Box 65, Folder 10 and Box 69, Folder 4 are restricted in accordance with state and federal law until 2075. Also, original audiocassette recordings in the collection are restricted. Patrons must request listener copies be produced.