Debths, by Susan Howe

The American poet Susan Howe's latest paranormal dive into the accumulated history of American language also serves as a terrific introduction to her work. Debths includes several sections of her minimal poems, which read like whispers heard by holding a glass to a wall and it's the past of the place you're in that's whispering. Howe's foreword to this book is particularly wonderful because her unconventional prose both exemplifies and explains her interrogative method, offering insight into how historical references and sources accumulate and connect within her mind. The book also includes a wealth of text collages that look like bruises, holes, and slashes into the language itself. I read this book in a crowded bar, and the conversations going on all around me seemed to be coming from the book, and I kept finding myself holding my breath. Howe is like that, and Debths is a perfect entry into her substantial body of timeless work.