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"It's not my intention to provoke. If my texts sometimes turn out to be disturbing, disquieting, or uncomfortable it is more than anything because I like to find beauty in places where people don't usually seek it out; in what is generally hidden, like illness, dementia, obsessions, and compulsions, psychological fragility, bodily secretions, and other things that a person usually prefers to hide. But always according to the logic of a story, and that of its characters. When I write, I don't plan to provoke a reaction or some feeling of rejection. Nor do I seek to avoid it. What I propose for myself is to share with the reader my idea of beauty, of those things, sometimes strange, sometimes terrible, which make us have aesthetic emotions."
In 2012 in The Paris Review, Susan Howe told Maureen N. McLane that she -- Howe -- doesn’t travel easily. “If I can get into a library -- public libraries or even a bookstore,” Howe said, “I feel safe... It’s a sense of self-identification and trust that widens to delight,” she continued, here talking specifically about university libraries “...discovering accidental originals or feeling that you’re pulling something back.” I love Howe’s agoraphobic rebel girl, her confidence like books are teeth stuck in the wrong mouth. Her attitude here makes me want to re-read her book My Emily Dickinson, which now seems like a statement of power. Like nesting. In it Howe writes that “love, a binding force, is both envy and emulation.”
It is strange to object that fish is fish, i.e. that it smells and tastes like fish. The fact that one feels like having energy-packed and ragged pork does not mean that there is something fishy about fish. Critical ethics requires responding to art works on their own terms and within their own logic; in this case, it would require providing a reading of the book instead of pining for other books’ rubicund realism. Isn’t it blatantly naive to keep believing that realism as a linguistic art form has to do with natural, spontaneous and “true” state of affairs, presented in an unlearned, non-crafted and non-borrowed manner? Art is artificial and to keep an eye -- our eye -- on this fact is the art’s way of being authentic and true.
"I grew up in a place where there was plenty of 'at risk' behavior and unsavory situations, but you weren't supposed to talk about these things or be involved in them. In my writing, I wanted to give voice to the people, girls mainly, who were so often sent the message that they should keep their mouths shut about the things that happened to them in their lives."
"I guess the world has always seemed deeply, unsettlingly arbitrary to me. Accidents of splendor and horror, violence and wonder -- it’s all lurking in the shadows of an ordinary day, waiting to leap out at us. I believe in a world that is deeply disordered. I believe in a kind of anti-conspiracy theory, a world where you almost wish there was a conspiracy, because the reality is so terrifyingly arbitrary and disorganized."