Without Saying

Richard Howard

In Richard Howard’s new collection, voices of myth and memory prevail, if only by means of prevarication — the voice of Medea’s mother trying to explain her daughter’s odd behavior to an indiscreet interviewer; or first and last the voice of Henry James, late in life, faced with the disputed prospect of meeting L. Frank Baum and then, even later on, “managing” not only Maeterlinck’s Bluebeard but his own unruly cast of characters, including Mrs. Wharton and young Hugh Walpole…

Richard Howard, one of America’s finest poets, continues to write poems of dazzling virtuosity, work which is intricate, amusing, and brimming with youthful spirit. He is the long established master of personnae and he is able to shift from voice to voice and era to era with grace, wit and dexterity. James Dickey once wrote that “Howard’s learning is so lightly and clearly held, his wit so delicate and hair-fine, and his poetic skill so unobtrusive, that the reader enters the poems with none of the pain that poets usually exact, but with delight, gentleness and joy.”

A National Book Award Finalist