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, later on, “managing” not only Maeterlinck’s Blue Bird but his own unruly cast of characters, including Mrs. Wharton and young Hugh Walpole.
Richard Howard’s honors include the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN Medal for Translation, and grants from the Guggenheim and MacArthur foundations.
The phrase “without saying” usually indicates something that needn’t be said because it is assumed true. However in Without Saying Richard Howard creates characters who speak of subjects that often go unsaid because their truth is unspeakable according to rules of politesse. These poems artfully question accepted, canonical versions of history or myth, subverting the expected dénouements of narratives we may think we know. Without Saying brilliantly illustrates that there are no easy truths, only new visions and investigations.