"The Small Space of a Pause": Susan Howe's Poetry and the Spaces between

"The Small Space of a Pause": Susan Howe's Poetry and the Spaces between

"The Small Space of a Pause": Susan Howe's Poetry and the Spaces between

"The Small Space of a Pause": Susan Howe's Poetry and the Spaces between

Synopsis

This book is about Susan Howe's poetry from the perspective of space. Howe reshapes cultural configurations of space through her drive to infiltrate interstitial areas of "third" spaces: the silences of history, the margins of the page, the placeless migrants, and the uncharted lands. Nuances, frontiers, thresholds, edges, fuzzinesses, ambiguities, pauses, singularities, margins: these are the spaces where her poetry occurs, places that lie between two states. Rather than absences, therefore, the space of this poetry is a place of being, of what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari refer to as becoming. Third space is contested because it must also call itself into question in reimagining itself; in questioning its condition and rethinking itself, it contradicts itself repeatedly, setting up the form of an ever-present yet ever-shifting paradox of self-presencing. This site is also, however, the place of no frames or boundaries, a place that is all margins and singularities, that site of displacement, where migration is eternal and violence is perennial. Nomadism becomes an emblem in Howe's poetry for the twentieth-century condition as it represents the continual movement through space of the body, that never-ending, always-perpetuated sense of loss of place, but that equally charged coming into being regardless of the space within which that loss/becoming occurs.

Excerpt

The small space
Of a pause

A haze
Blink into aching lost
Only words remain
If the print is available
The green of a city
A tumble of omens
In a western direction
Narrowing from side to side
Space as emptiness …

Is her theme
The whole page
Not just one part
Positive and negative space
Where?
Or sailed away
In the small space
Of endless possibility

         Susan Howe

This book is about susan HOWE’S poetry from the perspective of space. As Howe says in “Frame Structures,” “Space is a frame we map ourselves in” (fs, 9). This phrase establishes the focus for this book by referring to framing and mapping, concepts that form culture within the context of space. I argue in this book that Howe reshapes cultural configurations of space through her drive to infiltrate interstitial areas of “third” spaces: the silences of history, the margins of the page, the placeless migrants, and the uncharted lands.

Space shapes Howe’s poetry both conceptually and visually. in “The Difficulties Interview,” she quotes Charles Olson as saying, “I take space to be . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.