Spontaneous particulars: Susan Howe

Susan Howe by Paul Maziar

Some favorite lines from Susan Howe‘s lecture/performance tonight in Portland called “Spontaneous particulars of sound: the telepathy of archives” — a gorgeous, lyrical “swan song” to the practice of researching old books and objects lovingly preserved in libraries. She accompanied her lecture with photographs of old manuscripts–Dickinson, Williams–and textiles–lace and cloth.

the porous border between visual and verbal

The thing–things in themselves and things as they are for us–reveals itself at the surface of the visible.

Each object is a prearticulate empty theatre

Speaking of a news item she heard that suburbs have become places that people flee, leaving only the poor and old: Are libraries suburbs?

language leads to the limit of breath

On researching in an archive: this known world, this known object, a little afterwards–not quite

Of the experience of being in an archive, of encountering old objects and documents: a certain granting of grace in an ordinary room in a secular time

every mark you put on paper is acoustic

Oh, I’ve had my hands on H.D.! in response to an audience question about whether she’d “gotten her hands on” H.D.’s manuscripts at the Beinecke Library.

Wandering through the stacks is a telepathic experience. I could go on about the stacks …  (about closed stacks): It’s that thing where you have your card and you have to have permission. You want to be bad!

I believe in the sacred, or blasphemy–all of that

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