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.”
Fanny Howe’s sixteenth book of poetry, Second Childhood, is a spiritual meditation in human terms. As children are both open-hearted and defenseless, so Howe sees us all, cast on currents of epiphany and accident. In Second Childhood, ordinary loneliness achieves unusual buoyancy as the reader learns to live companionably with both hope and fear. The interior space of a human life becomes luminous in all its confusion and appetite.