Fanny Howe (born October 15, 1940 in Buffalo, New York) is an American poet, novelist, and short story writer. She has written many novels in prose collection. Howe was awarded the 2009 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, presented annually by the Poetry Foundation to a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition. She was a judge for the 2015 Griffin Poetry Prize.
Her father was a lawyer, and her Irish-born mother was an actress at the Abbey Theatre of Dublin for some time. Her sister is Susan Howe, who also became a poet. Fanny Howe grew up with her family in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She attended Stanford University for three years, and in 1961—the year she left Stanford—she married Frederick Delafield, whom she divorced two years later.
As a Civil Rights activist, she met and married the activist Carl Senna in the 1970s, who is of African-Mexican descent and is also a poet and writer. They are the parents of the novelist Danzy Senna, who writes about growing up biracial in the 1970s and 80s in her novel Caucasia. Howe and Senna also had two other children, Lucien Quincy Senna, and Maceo Senna.
She has taught at Tufts University, Emerson College, Kenyon College, Columbia University, Yale University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Georgetown University . She is professor emerita of Writing and Literature at the University of California, San Diego. Currently she lives in Boston.
Howe has become one of the most widely read of American experimental poets. She has also published several novels, including Lives of the Spirit/Glasstown: Where Something Got Broken (2005), and The Wedding Dress: Meditations on Word and Life (2003), a collection of essays.
Poet Michael Palmer:
Fanny Howe employs a sometimes fierce, always passionate, spareness in her lifelong parsing of the exchange between matter and spirit. Her work displays as well a political urgency, that is to say, a profound concern for social justice and for the soundness and fate of the polis, the "city on a hill". Writes Emerson, The poet is the sayer, the namer, and represents beauty. Here's the luminous and incontrovertible proof.
Howe's prose poems, "Everything's a Fake" and "Doubt", were selected by David Lehman for the anthology Great American Prose Poems: from Poe to the Present (2003). Her poem "Catholic" was selected by Lyn Hejinian for the 2004 volume of The Best American Poetry.
- Eggs: poems, Houghton Mifflin, 1970
- The Amerindian Coastline Poem, Telephone Books Press, 1975, ISBN 0-916382-08-7
- Poem from a Single Pallet, Kelsey Street Press, 1980, ISBN 0-932716-10-5
- Alsace-Lorraine, Telephone Books Press, 1982, ISBN 0-916382-28-1
- For Erato: The Meaning of Life, 1984
- Robeson Street, Alice James Books, 1985, ISBN 978-0-914086-59-8
- Introduction to the World, Figures, 1986, ISBN 0-935724-21-4
- The Lives of a Spirit, Sun & Moon Press, 1987, ISBN 0-940650-95-9
- The Vineyard, Lost Roads Publishers, 1988, ISBN 978-0-918786-37-1
- [sic], Parentheses Writing Series, October 1988, ISBN 978-0-9620862-2-9
- The End, Littoral Books, 1992 ISBN 1-55713-145-7
- The Quietist, O Books, 1992, ISBN 978-1-882022-12-0
- O'Clock, Reality Street, 1995, ISBN 978-1-874400-07-3
- One Crossed Out, Graywolf Press, 1997, ISBN 978-1-55597-259-2
- Forged, Post-Apollo Press, 1999, ISBN 978-0-942996-36-4
- Selected Poems, University of California Press, 2000, ISBN 978-0-520-22263-2 (shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize)
- Gone. University of California Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-520-23810-7.
- Tis of Thee, Atelos, 2003, ISBN 978-1-891190-16-2
- On the Ground, Graywolf Press, 2004, ISBN 978-1-55597-403-9 (also shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize)
- The Lives of a Spirit/Glasstown: Where Something Got Broken Nightboat Books, 2005, ISBN 978-0-9767185-1-2
- The Lyrics, Graywolf Press, 2007, ISBN 978-1-55597-472-5
- (with Henia Karmel-Wolfe and Ilona Karmel) A Wall of Two: Poems of Resistance and Suffering from Kraków to Buchenwald and Beyond, University of California Press, 2007, ISBN 978-0-520-25136-6
- Come and See: Poems, Graywolf Press, 2011, ISBN 978-1-55597-586-9
- Second Childhood: Poems. Graywolf Press. 18 November 2014. pp. 29–. ISBN 978-1-55597-917-1.
- West Coast Nurse (under the pseudonym Della Field), Avon, 1963, OCLC 38711773
- Vietnam Nurse (under the pseudonym Della Field), Avon, 1966
- Forty Whacks, Houghton Mifflin, 1969, ISBN 0-575-00560-2
- First Marriage HarperCollins, 1974, ISBN 0-380-01850-0
- Bronte Wilde, Avon Books, 1976, ISBN 978-0-380-00548-2
- Holy Smoke. University of Alabama Press. 1979. ISBN 978-0-914590-55-2.
- The White Slave, Avon Books, 1980, ISBN 978-0-380-45591-1
- In the Middle of Nowhere: A Novel. University of Alabama Press. 1984. ISBN 978-0-914590-83-5.
- The Deep North Sun & Moon Press, 1988, ISBN 978-1-55713-025-9
- Famous Questions, Ballantine Books, 1989, ISBN 978-0-345-36177-6
- Saving History, Sun & Moon Press, 1993, ISBN 978-1-55713-100-3
- Nod, Sun & Moon Press, 1998, ISBN 1-55713-307-7
- Indivisible, Semiotext(e), 2000, ISBN 978-1-58435-009-5
- Economics: Stories, Flood Editions, 2002, ISBN 978-0-9710059-4-5
- Radical Love: 5 Novels, Nightboat Books, 2006, ISBN 978-0-9767185-3-6
Young Adult Fiction
- The Blue Hills, Avon, 1981, ISBN 0-380-78998-1
- Yeah, But Avon/Flare, August 1982, ISBN 978-0-380-79186-6
- Radio City Avon/Flare book, 1984, ISBN 978-0-380-86025-8
- Taking Care, Avon Books, 1985, ISBN 978-0-380-89864-0
- Race of the Radical, Viking Kestrel, 1985, ISBN 978-0-670-80557-0
- What Did I Do Wrong?, Illustrator Colleen McCallion, Flood Editions, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9819520-0-0
- The Wedding Dress: Meditations on Word and Life. University of California Press. 2003. ISBN 978-0-520-23840-4.
- The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation, Graywolf Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-55597-520-3
- "On the Day the Blood Let Fall", Scott Bentley, Jacket 25, February 2004
- "The Clarity of Fanny Howe's Debut", Kimberly Lamm, University of Washington, Titanic Operas
- "Fellow Travelers", Karen Volkman, Boston Review, February/March 2004
- Zimmer, Melanie (2008). "Fanny Quincy Howe". In Byrne, James Patrick; Coleman, Philip; King, Jason Francis. Ireland and the Americas: Culture, Politics, and History : A Multidisciplinary Encyclopedia, Volume 2. ABC-CLIO. pp. 427–430. ISBN 978-1-85109-614-5.
- "2005 Shortlist - Fanny Howe". The Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- "Fanny Howe and Ange Mlinko Receive Major Literary Awards from Poetry Foundation". The Poetry Foundation. April 14, 2009. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- "Fanny Howe". The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- "Fanny (Quincy) Howe". encyclopedia.com. Retrieved 2012-06-14.
- "Fanny Howe". The Academy of American Poets. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- Joshua Glenn (March 7, 2004). "Bewildered in Boston". The Boston Globe.Subscription required.
- Lehman, David, ed. (2003). "Fanny Howe". Great American Prose Poems: from Poe to the Present. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-2989-0.
- Hejinian, Lyn; Lehman, David, eds. (2004). "Catholic". The Best American Poetry 2004. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-7432-5757-2.
- Treseler, Heather (October 20, 2015). "Little Gods". Boston Review. Retrieved 2015-10-20.
Howe transfigures our quicksilver hungers and contemporary condition into an art true to “the secular rule of life.” If Howe’s voice is that of the escaping nymph managing our shipwreck, we might not be safer than in her tote, finding our hope in the empathy that is imagining.
- Fanny Howe Informatarium
- Fanny Howe Papers
- Griffin Poetry Prize readings, including video clips
- Interview with Kenyon Review
- Fanny Howe page at Ploughshares includes links to Howe's contributions to Ploughshares that began in 1972 with an excerpt from an early novel. Since then she has been a consistent contributor of poems, essays, and non-fiction. Howe was the guest-editor for an edition of Ploughshares in 1974, and has contributed to this journal as recently as 2004.
- Bewilderment a talk by Fanny Howe, with an excerpt here from a longer version presented 9/25/98 on the Poetics & Readings Series, sponsored by Small Press Traffic at New College, San Francisco. Bewilderment was collected in The Wedding Dress (2003)
- Fanny Howe Interviewed by Jennifer Moxley for info on Jennifer Moxley (link here)
- "The Wedding Dress: Meditations On Word and Life", Leonard Schwartz, Jacket 28, October 2005