SUSAN HOWE, the author of thirteen books of poetry, has been an actress and assistant stage designer at the Gate Theatre in Dublin, a painter, radio producer, and literary critic. The daugher of a Harvard Law School professor and an Irish playright and actress, she graduated from the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts in 1961 and received first prize in painting. During the next ten years her work evolved from painting to drawing with words to writing poetry exclusively in 1971. She has been inspired by Charles Olson, painter Agnes Martin, and historian Richard Slotkin, as well as by Emily Dickinson and early Puritan writers, including Cotton Mather.
In 1985 she was one of ten American poets at the New Poetics Colloquium in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she returned in 1987 as visiting foreign artist-in-residence. During the summer of 1988 she was one of five American poets at the Recontres Internationales de Poésie Contemporaine in Tarascon, France.
She is Professor of English at the State University of New York-Buffalo. She has received the Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award twice, in 1980 for Secret History of the Divided Line, and in 1987 for her critical study, My Emily Dickinson. She has also received the first Roy Harvey Pearce Award for a Poet and Critic for her book The Birth-mark (Wesleyan, 1993).
Her most recent works are Frame Structures: Early Poems, 1974-1979 (1995), and her essay “Sorting Facts; or Nineteen Ways of Looking at Marker,” in Beyond Document: Essays on Nonfiction Film (Wesleyan, 1996), edited by Charles Warren.
Howe lives in Guilford, Connecticut, when she is not teaching in Buffalo.