Poet Fanny Howe returns to CSB for free public reading, residency

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January 11, 2017

Fanny Howe

Fanny Howe

Acclaimed poet, novelist and short story writer Fanny Howe has a free public reading at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, in Gorecki 204, College of Saint Benedict.

This is Howe’s second visit to CSB for a public reading. Her first visit came in April 2008.

Howe is the author of more than 30 books of poetry and prose. “The Needle’s Eye: Passing through Youth,” published in 2016 by Graywolf Press in Minneapolis, is her most recent book, and includes both essays and poems.

She dedicates the book “to the children.” According to Kathleen Rooney in the Los Angeles Review of Books, it’s “a gesture that’s not saccharine or futurist: rather, in piece after piece, she reveals herself to be committed to seeing the young not as sentimental or romanticized creatures, but rather as fully human in their multidimensional complexity.”

She 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. Howe’s book “Selected Poems” won the 2001 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, and in 2008 she won an Award in Literature from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. In 2001 and 2005, she was shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize.

“If someone is alone reading my poems, I hope it would be like reading someone’s notebook. A record. Of a place, beauty, difficulty. A familiar daily struggle,” Howe said in a 2004 interview with the Kenyon Review.

A teacher for over 20 years, Howe is a professor emerita at the University of California at San Diego. In 2012, she was the inaugural visiting writer in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston.

Howe’s family tree contains several other writers. Her husband is Carl Senna, an activist, poet and writer. They are the parents of novelist Danzy Senna. Howe’s sister, Susan Howe, is also a poet.

Fanny Howe will be residency from Jan. 23-27, visiting classes and working with students from CSB and Saint John's University.

Both events are presented in collaboration with the CSB Literary Arts Institute (LAI) and the Fine Arts Series at CSB and SJU.

The LAI, founded in 1997, fosters creative writing, publishing and interaction between students and writers. LAI brings nationally recognized authors to the college for a visiting writers' series (Writers Writing), promotes literary events, holds conferences (Inside Books), supports publications (S. Mariella Gable Prize) and encourages the artistry of fine letterpress (Welle Book Arts Studio).

With its local and national partners, such as Graywolf Press, LAI is able to bring writers and their work together with readers on campus, in Minnesota and beyond.