Second Childhood

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The new poetry collection by Fanny Howe, whose "body of work seems larger, stranger, and more permanent with each new book she publishes" (Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize citation)

People want to be poets for reasons that have little to do with language.
It's the life of the poet that they want.
Even the glow of loneliness and humiliation.
To walk in the gutter with a bottle of wine.

Some people's lives are more poetic than a poem,
and Francis is certainly one of these.

I know, because he walked beside me for that short time
whether you believe it or not.
—from "Outremer"

Fanny Howe's poetry is known for its lyricism, fragmentation, experimentation, religious engagement, and commitment to social justice. In Second Childhood, the observing poet is an impersonal figure who accompanies Howe in her encounters with chance and mystery. She is not one age or the other, in one time or another. She writes, "The first question in the Catechism is: / What was humanity born for? / To be happy is the correct answer."

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