You are on page 1of 10

Outline

Intro
Postmodernism a literary movement that began as reaction to Modernism including all forms of
literature .
Who is Susan Howe - postmodern poet
What I read by Howe:
poetic prose "When I love a thing" from "My Emily Dickinson"
"The past" from "Cabbage Gardens"
"A Stark" from"Hinge Picture"
"That This"
Thesis: Susan Howe uses the postmodern elements of minimalism, maximalism, and intertextuality
in her writing to establish an intense mood.
Susan Howe
New Englander

Title:
Biography Howe
Source:
Bromige, David and Sarah Hilbert. "Susan Howe." <i>Critical Survey of Poetry, Second Revised
Edition</i>, September 2002, pp. 1-6. EBSCO<i>host</i>, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&amp;db=lfh&amp;AN=103331CSP13020160000130&amp;site=eds-live.
URL:
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=lfh&AN=103331CSP13020160000130&site=eds-live
Direct Quote:
Susan Howe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on June 10, 1937
she attended the Beaver Country Day School, from which she was graduated in 1955. Also in 1955,
she began a years study at the Gate Theater, Dublin, Ireland, acting and designing sets. From 1957
to 1961, she attended the Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston
In 1961 she married Harvey Quaytman, and their daughter Rebecca was born that same year.
When her marriage ended in 1966, Howe began living with the sculptor David von Schlegell, and in
1967, their son Mark was born. The couple was married in 1976.
Paraphrase:
Howe was born in 1937
primary school: Beaver country Day School
secondary edu: Gate Theater; Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston
married had a daughter in the same year then divorced; had a son the re-married ten years later
My Ideas:
Get background information on the poet I am studying and use the information gathered to either
find a deeper explanation of her life in her poems as allusions, or compare how her life affected her
poetry.
would go the library with her father as a child
award winning author
Title:
Biography Howe (Awards)
Source:
Bromige, David and Sarah Hilbert. "Susan Howe." <i>Critical Survey of Poetry, Second Revised
Edition</i>, September 2002, pp. 1-6. EBSCO<i>host</i>, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&amp;db=lfh&amp;AN=103331CSP13020160000130&amp;site=eds-live.
URL:
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=lfh&AN=103331CSP13020160000130&site=eds-live
Direct Quote:
Susan Howe has established herself as a poet of profound engagement with the problematic of Being
in the era she confronts. Her work also addresses the meaning of being American and being a
woman, in order to strip away obsolete ideas concerning both America and Woman and to discover
the realities of these conditions in the present.
Howe has twice received the American Book Award of the Before Columbus Foundation, in 1982 for
Pythagorean Silence and again in 1985 for My Emily Dickinson
In 2000, she was elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets
Paraphrase:
her work addresses being female and living in America and strips away the falsity and cover up in
the life of a Female American

"My Emily Dickinson" was the American Book Award in 1985


2000 - elected chancellor of the Aca. of Amer Poets
My Ideas:
Use her awards to give the audience of my bibliography more information on the poet I researched.
Gave me an insight on one of the main purposes of her writing; which is defining, in reality, being an
American female.
her writing style is filled with allusions to mythology and multiple elements of post modernists
authors

Title:
Biography Howe (Analysis)
Source:
Bromige, David and Sarah Hilbert. "Susan Howe." <i>Critical Survey of Poetry, Second Revised
Edition</i>, September 2002, pp. 1-6. EBSCO<i>host</i>, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&amp;db=lfh&amp;AN=103331CSP13020160000130&amp;site=eds-live.
URL:
http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?
direct=true&db=lfh&AN=103331CSP13020160000130&site=eds-live
Direct Quote:
what Howe says of Emily Dickinson can with equal force be applied to herself: In prose and poetry
she explored the implications of breaking the law just short of breaking off communication with a
reader.
the overall thrust of the syntax is continually thwarted. Denied easy access to an overarching
meaning, the reader must work with smaller units (phrase, line, couplet) and can only gradually
constitute the meaning of the whole.
To this end, Howe employs the various devices of deconstruction, notably the fracturing of sentence,
phrase, or even word.

Paraphrase:
Howe's prose and poetry are not simply stated and simple
sentences and lines are short and makes the meaning hard to find
- has to be found by dissecting each part the adding the parts to get the whole
writes little but makes the topic of her writing hard to get to

My Ideas:
Take advantage of knowing how Howe writes and keep this in mind when reading her poems. Take
the directions on how to successfully annotate her poems and use this to help me find intertextuality
that affects mood.
Minimalism
Minimalism is an element of postmodernism that affects the structure of postmodern works. It
eliminates everything unnecessary from the writing .

Title:
Class Notes
Source:
Pritchard, Lisa. "Postmodernism." May 2017, Baton rouge. Lecture.
Paraphrase:
Intertextuality - connections between and references to texts
Metafiction - text is aware of itself in some way (referencing itself)
Maximalism/Minimalism - embrace the excess or eliminate all of it

how is it used in the afore said poems?


"The Past" from "Cabbage Gardens" - the structure in the poem for the first page is very punctuated
having no more than two or three words per line

Title:
Cabbage Gardens
Source:
---. "from Cabbage Gardens." Poetry Foundation, 1996, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-
poets/poems/detail/43253. Accessed 10 May 2017.
Direct Quote:
The past
will overtake
alien force
whole fields honeycombed with souterrains
human

eternity swallows up time


peaceable as foam
O cabbage gardens
summers elegy
sunset survived

Paraphrase:

the past will overcome the future


future = alien force

metaphor: fields on top of buried humans

entire poem is an elegy and the cabbage gardens are on top '
something knew coming from something old
"A Stark" from"Hinge Picture" - establishes the mood in four lines made of less than ten words makes
the mood intensified

Title:
HInge Picture
Source:
---. "from Hinge Picture." Poetry Foundation, 1996, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-
poets/poems/detail/43251. Accessed 10 May 2017.
Direct Quote:
that he is the Word original and first begotten
attended by power
upheld by his mother
(a very active gesturing baby)

Crawl in, said the witch, and see if its hot enough to put the bread in.
Hansel and Gretel
Paraphrase:
intertextuality (Bible, Hansel and Gretel)
minimalism (structure)
maximalism (subjects)
"That This" - structurally each stanza is only two lines long with the exception of one

Title:
That This
Source:
Howe, Susan. "That This." poets.org, www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/that-this. Accessed 11 May
2017.
Paraphrase:
the poems uses little in terms of structure
how does it establish an intense mood - the use of minimalism does not give the reader much to
work with in the case of trying to understand the poem, in turn the reader can feel confused with
little information given to them
Maximalism
Maximalism is an element of postmodernism that is the opposite of minimalism and uses every
detail in the story that is relevant.

Title:
Class Notes
Source:
Pritchard, Lisa. "Postmodernism." May 2017, Baton rouge. Lecture.
Paraphrase:
Intertextuality - connections between and references to texts
Metafiction - text is aware of itself in some way (referencing itself)
Maximalism/Minimalism - embrace the excess or eliminate all of it

how is it used in the following poems


"When I Love a Thing" - the writing uses references to a past philosopher that contrast the
differences in female and male love

Title:
Pythagoras
Source:
Howe, Susan. "from My Emily Dickinson." Poetry Foundation, 1985,
www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53265. Accessed 10 May 2017.
URL:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53265
Direct Quote:
DUALISM: Pythagoras said that all things were divisible into two genera, good and evil; in
the genus of good things he classified all perfect things such as light, males, repose, and
so forth, whereas in the genus of evil he classified darkness, females, and so forth.
(Thomas Aquinas, On the Power of God, p. 84)
Paraphrase:
men, light = good
women, darkness = bad
dualism - the stated above may not be true for every person and is most likely not true
My Ideas:
intertextuality - she literally put the quote of where she got dualism from
dualism is the position that mental phenomena are, in some respects, non-physical, or that the mind
and body are not identical (wiki)
"The Past" from "Dabbage Gardens" - the subject of the poem and the details of it are all there put
shown to the reader in a n indirect way

Title:
Cabbage Gardens
Source:
---. "from Cabbage Gardens." Poetry Foundation, 1996, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-
poets/poems/detail/43253. Accessed 10 May 2017.
Direct Quote:
The past
will overtake
alien force
whole fields honeycombed with souterrains
human

eternity swallows up time


peaceable as foam
O cabbage gardens
summers elegy
sunset survived
Paraphrase:

the past will overcome the future


future = alien force

metaphor: fields on top of buried humans

entire poem is an elegy and the cabbage gardens are on top '
something knew coming from something old
"A Stark" from"Hinge Picture" - this poem is not simple in anyway either structure nor subject matter

Title:
HInge Picture
Source:
---. "from Hinge Picture." Poetry Foundation, 1996, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-
poets/poems/detail/43251. Accessed 10 May 2017.
Direct Quote:
that he is the Word original and first begotten
attended by power
upheld by his mother
(a very active gesturing baby)

Crawl in, said the witch, and see if its hot enough to put the bread in.
Hansel and Gretel
Paraphrase:
intertextuality (Bible, Hansel and Gretel)
minimalism (structure)
maximalism (subjects)
how does it establish an intense mood - the reader is reading more content that with a minimalistic
approach so the reader can become overwhelmed the amount they are reading along with the
subject of the writing
Intertextuality
Intertextuality is making references to text or connections between texts

Title:
Class Notes
Source:
Pritchard, Lisa. "Postmodernism." May 2017, Baton rouge. Lecture.
Paraphrase:
Intertextuality - connections between and references to texts
Metafiction - text is aware of itself in some way (referencing itself)
Maximalism/Minimalism - embrace the excess or eliminate all of it

how is it used in the following poems


"When I LOve a Thing" Howe reference a book entitled "On the Power of God"

Title:
Metaphoric Females
Source:
Howe, Susan. "from My Emily Dickinson." Poetry Foundation, 1985,
www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53265. Accessed 10 May 2017.
URL:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/53265
Direct Quote:
Dickinson means this to be an ugly verse.
First I find myself a Slave, next I understand my slavery, finally I re-discover
myself at liberty inside the confines of known necessity. Gun goes on thinking of
the violence done to meaning. Gun watches herself watching.
Paraphrase:
poet refers to Dickinson as a past poet w/ similar intentions
slave = female, first be born the understand the responsibility of being female, then find happiness
in what females are allowed to do by society
gun = female, guns hold power don't do anything until needed
My Ideas:
minimalism - poet used little wording to describe the American female and the thinking behind being
an American female
maximalism - indirectly taking a feministic stance on day to day life without saying women, feminine,
undermined, defending, or any other words that would have portrayed her message more directly
"The Past"allusion to Jesus and the Bible

Title:
Cabbage Gardens
Source:
---. "from Cabbage Gardens." Poetry Foundation, 1996, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-
poets/poems/detail/43253. Accessed 10 May 2017.
Direct Quote:
The past
will overtake
alien force
whole fields honeycombed with souterrains
human

eternity swallows up time


peaceable as foam
O cabbage gardens
summers elegy
sunset survived

Paraphrase:

the past will overcome the future


future = alien force

metaphor: fields on top of buried humans

entire poem is an elegy and the cabbage gardens are on top '
something knew coming from something old
"A Stark" from"Hinge Picture" - the basis of the poem is based off of the story of Hansel and Gretle

Title:
HInge Picture
Source:
---. "from Hinge Picture." Poetry Foundation, 1996, www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-
poets/poems/detail/43251. Accessed 10 May 2017.
Direct Quote:
that he is the Word original and first begotten
attended by power
upheld by his mother
(a very active gesturing baby)

Crawl in, said the witch, and see if its hot enough to put the bread in.
Hansel and Gretel
Paraphrase:
intertextuality (Bible, Hansel and Gretel)
minimalism (structure)
maximalism (subjects)
how does it establish an intense moo - by referencing other books the poet makes the writing more
relatable making the mood become intense
Conclusion
summary
what did I find interesting - i like that Howe does not give the reader what they want directly. she
makes the reader interested in what they are reading by making the reader search for the meaning
of her writing. Its writers like Howe that cause some people to say they don't like reading, but it's
only because they have to have the writing explained to them to gain comprehension.