The Poetry of W. Scott Howard

Indigo Deany and W. Scott Howard, 2016

Indigo Deany and W. Scott Howard, 2016

Dear Friends,

I am honored to announce the publication of No. 18, W. Scott Howard's SPINNAKERS, a crypto-graphic masterwork that explores the way language moves in and beyond us. Working with Scott has been nothing short of a course in illumination; his every gesture informs a larger vision, a sort of mythological treatment of meaning that honors the tools of the trade. Scott channels his personal integrity into the work, making for a crystalline concept, and the subsequent structural integrity makes it possible for us to observe the finer details of reality. W. Scott Howard's example is of profound import for all who wonder what poets today are called to do.

“[SPINNAKERS] reminds us," writes artist Ryan Wade Ruehlen in the introduction, “that all language is a form of code, that each code is a container, and that small containers hold complex notions, double meanings, and illegible nothingness all at the same time." Scholar Jeanne Heuving and poet Steve McCaffery also shine light into the depths of the mind of the work:

Howard masters a compound poetic of subtraction and conversion in this masterly and compact nautical text. Echoes of Mallarmé’s Un Coup de Dés and the lingering persistence of Oppen’s “shipwreck / Of the singular” combine with a restless wake behind this text-ship blown from code to code. The three points of the spinnaker are there alright: a tight text which registers as a compressed abbreviation, a distilled fragmentation, and the non-semantic jump into Morse.

Steve McCaffery

For H.D., art works if transmitted through “the secret of dots and dashes” but only to receivers who were receptive. W. Scott Howard sounds our own time through telegraphic broadcasts and their Morse translations as prose poems and their erasures spin centrifugally. The titles themselves tell much of the story, from “Mere Bog” to “Surplus Ephemera,” from “Relic Wink” to “Glitch Blebs.” If “kinetic swirl eclipses pronouns for subjectivity,” then erased, we must pause on “lips.” If “lyric politics twilight swift divinations,” then we are returned to “swift nation.” These are deft soundings of an apocalyptic time in which “stammering utter notes” are “dash open.” Take your time with them, let them sink in, tune in to their accompanying sonictexts, and you will find yourself brought into an elsewhere unsounded hitherto that tells of home.

Jeanne Heuving

Please do tune in, as Heuving mentions, to the “elsewhere unsounded hitherto" created by Howard to accompany SPINNAKERS And after a few months' hiatus, we are again going to have a release reading! featuring W. Scott Howard (of course) at the one and only Innisfree Poetry Bookstore & Café on Thursday, November 17th, at 7:00pm—if you are in the greater Denver area, we certainly hope you can make it. As always, thanks to Indigo Deany for the transcendent cover art—the header photo shows her portraits of Scot just after they were completed (at Trident Booksellers & Café in Boulder).

Yours in the call, the cool & the calm,

⎯ Joe