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Abstract

This article examines American poet Susan Howe’s engagement with landscape and place across the trajectory of her career, centrally examining three key poems: Secret History of the Dividing Line (1978), Thorow (1987) and Souls of the Labadie Tract (2007). In so doing, it demonstrates this work’s pertinence for discussions of environmental aesthetics. Starting from the premise that Howe’s poetic engagement with entangled historical and environmental questions is as much formal as it is thematic, I focus on two of her prominent techniques: the “palimtextual” excavation of source materials and the spatial use of the page. I argue that this poetry’s entangled materialities play out shifting tensions and dialogues between a Romantic quest for a reconnection with “nature” and a constructionist awareness of the forms of mediation that shape the poetics of place.

DOI

10.1353/cli.2014.0039

Publication Date

2013-11-25

Publication Title

Contemporary Literature

Volume

55

Issue

4

First Page

665

Last Page

700

ISSN

0010-7484

Organisational Unit

School of Society and Culture

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