Spontaneous Particulars by Susan Howe
Trade paperback format.
Great American writers — William Carlos Williams, Jonathan Edwards, Emily Dickinson, Noah Webster, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, Henry James —in the physicality of their archival manuscripts (reproduced here in the beautiful facsimiles)—are the presiding spirits of Spontaneous Particulars: Telepathy of Archives. Also woven into Susan Howe’s long essay are beautiful photographs of embroideries and textiles from anonymous craftspeople.
The archived materials create links, discoveries, chance encounters, the visual and the acoustic shocks of rooting around amid physical archives. These are the telepathies the bibliomaniacal poet relishes. Rummaging in the archives she finds “a deposit of a future yet to come, gathered and guarded…a literal and mythical sense of life hereafter—you permit yourself liberties —in the first place—happiness.” Digital scholarship may offer much for scholars, but Susan Howe loves the materiality of research in the real archives, and Spontaneous Particulars “is a collaged swan song to the old ways.”
One of the preeminent poets of her generation, Susan Howe is known for innovative verse that crosses genres and disciplines in its theoretical underpinnings and approach to history.—The Poetry Foundation