Cover image for Inner voices : selected poems, 1963-2003
Inner voices : selected poems, 1963-2003
Howard, Richard, 1929-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, [2004]

Physical Description:
x, 428 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS3558.O8826 A6 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



The poems of Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Howard are noted for their unique dramatic force and for preserving, in their graceful, exquisitely wrought lines, human utterance at its most urbane. Here, in the first volume to draw together material from Howard's twelve books of poems, readers can fully appreciate the erudite nuances of his lyric poetry and the superb human and historical bravura of his dramatic monologues and imagined conversations among famous figures. Inner Voices leaves no doubt as to why Howard has been "a powerful presence in American poetry for 40 years" (The New York Times Book Review).

Author Notes

Richard Howard was born in Cleveland, Ohio on October 13, 1929. He received a B.A. from Columbia University in 1951 and studied at the Sorbonne as a Fellow of the French Government in 1952-1953. He briefly worked as a lexicographer, but soon turned his attention to poetry and poetic criticism. His works include Trappings: New Poems; Like Most Revelations: New Poems; Selected Poems; No Traveler; Findings; Alone with America; and Quantities. He won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1969 for Untitled Subjects.

He is also a translator and published more than 150 translations from the French. He received the PEN Translation Prize in 1976 for his translation of E. M. Cioran's A Short History of Decay and the American Book Award for his 1983 translation of Charles Baudelaire's Les Fleurs du Mal. In 1982, he was named a Chevalier of L'Ordre National du Mérite by the government of France. He teaches in the Writing Division of the School of the Arts, Columbia University.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Howard is our era's Robert Browning. No other English-language poet since Browning has written so many dramatic monologues of such high quality. Like Browning, Howard chooses artists and art as the personae and subjects of many of his poems; no wonder, perhaps, for a poet who says that one poem he most wishes he had written is Browning's My Last Duchess. Besides artists, Howard often chooses writers as personae, including prominent Victorians (Whitman, Ruskin-- and Browning); correspondents with other writers and artists; and increasingly, himself as traveler, museumgoer, and engaged reader (he talks to as well as of Proust). As brilliant and absorbing as any of the monologues are Howard's dramatic dialogues, whether cast as conversation, correspondence, or piquant juxtaposition of temporally disjunct discourses, as in Occupations, concerned with the art and the person of the painter Pierre Bonnard, during and after World War II. While he modernly dispenses with rhyme and meter, Howard shapes his poems by other means, retaining the rhythms and swing of intelligent talk and the look of traditional verse on the page. He is as rich and as ever fresh as Browning, and it wouldn't be at all surprising if, 100 years hence, a poet like him, or like Browning, were to be characterized as our era's Richard Howard. --Ray Olson Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Drawing on 12 previous volumes (including 1970's Pulitzer-winning Untitled Subjects), this big assortment plays to Howard's strengths-above all, to his impersonations and dramatic monologues. Howard's hyperarticulate sentences fit the preoccupations of his sophisticated personae, many of them 19th-century French and English writers and artists. John Ruskin, Henry James, the early photographer Nadar, Proust and Jane Morris (William's widow) all receive extended embodiments, as do the secretaries and intimates of other great artists. The book includes Howard's anthology hits, among them "Nicholas of Mardruz" (a biting response to Browning) and "Infirmities," in which the aged Walt Whitman critiques the closeted Bram Stoker. His elaborate forms, or "habitual/ disorders," "suffice to hold fast to the small/ change of small changes," exploring regrets or assessing the pleasures of the flesh. Howard's later volumes grew more personal (and more successful) in revealing specifically gay male experience. On the whole, these densely figured poems justify the copious ambition they embody. (Oct.) Forecast: A translator of Stendhal, Barthes, Breton and many other major French writers, the poetry editor for the Paris Review and a prolific critic, reviewer and blurber, Howard is known to several generations of intelligentsia. This, his first selected, will be the one book of his poems many will buy. FSG plans a simultaneous release for a retrospective of Howard's critical writings, Paper Trail: Selected Prose 1965-2003. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

L'Invitation au Voyagep. 3
Sandusky-New Yorkp. 5
A Far Cry After a Close Callp. 11
Seeing Cousin Phyllis Offp. 13
Bonnard: A Novelp. 15
The Author of Christinep. 18
An Old Dancerp. 21
Untitled Subjects
1801: Among the Papers of the Envoy to Constantinoplep. 25
1851: A Message to Denmark Hillp. 28
1881: A Beatificationp. 33
1889: Alassiop. 36
1824-1889p. 42
November, 1889p. 44
1890: Further Echoes of the Late Lord Leightonp. 57
1891: An Idyllp. 59
1897p. 63
1907: A Proposal from Parisp. 67
1915: A Pre-Raphaelite Ending, Londonp. 73
Beyond Wordsp. 81
From Tarragonap. 83
Giovanni Da Fiesole on the Sublime, or Fra Angelico's Last Judgmentp. 86
From Beyoglup. 88
Two-Part Inventions
After the Factsp. 95
Infirmities [from Talking Cures]p. 104
The Lesson of the Masterp. 114
A Natural Deathp. 137
Fellow Feelings
Decadesp. 157
Personal Valuesp. 162
Howard's Wayp. 164
The Giant on Giant-Killingp. 169
Vocational Guidancep. 172
Venetian Interior, 1889p. 176
Purgatory, formerly Paradisep. 180
Thebaisp. 187
A Commissionp. 191
Homage to Nadarp. 194
Charles Garnierp. 194
Sarah Bernhardtp. 195
Victor Hugop. 197
Honore Daumierp. 198
Jacques Offenbachp. 200
Gioachino Rossinip. 201
Richard Wagnerp. 203
Charles Baudelairep. 204
Edmond and Jules de Goncourtp. 206
Gustave Dorep. 207
Theophile Gautierp. 209
George Sandp. 210
Nadarp. 212
Lining Up
Lining Upp. 217
On Hearing Your Lover Is Going to the Baths Tonightp. 221
Carrion (continued)p. 223
At the Monument to Pierre Louysp. 226
Ithaca: The Palace at Four a.m.p. 229
Cygnus cygnus to Ledap. 232
Telemachusp. 234
Move Still, Still Sop. 237
No Traveller
Even in Parisp. 247
Love Which Altersp. 272
Concerning Kp. 275
Oraclesp. 278
Like Most Revelations
Occupationsp. 303
Poem Beginning with a Line by Isadora Duncanp. 313
A Lost Artp. 316
For Robert Phelps, Dead at Sixty-sixp. 320
Like Most Revelationsp. 324
Writing Offp. 325
For James Boatwright, 1937-88p. 329
For David Kalstone, 1932-86p. 332
Homagep. 336
To the Tenth Musep. 338
Dorothea Tanning's Cousinsp. 345
Nikolaus Mardruz to Ferdinand, Count of Tyrol, 1565p. 347
Mrs. Eden in Town for the Dayp. 354
Homage to Antonio Canalettop. 356
Family Values Ip. 360
Family Values IIp. 363
Family Values IIIp. 366
The Job Interviewp. 369
For Mona Van Duyn, Going Onp. 372
Lee Krasner: Porcelain, a Collagep. 375
A Sibyl of 1979p. 377
The Manateep. 379
Les Travaux d'Alexandrep. 381
Among the Missingp. 383
Our Spring Tripp. 384
Henri Fantin-Latour: Un Coin de table, 1873p. 388
At Sixty-fivep. 390
Talking Cures
Close Encounters of Another Kindp. 395
Knowing When to Stopp. 397
Colossalp. 401
Successp. 403
The Masters on the Moviesp. 405
Now, Voyager (1942)p. 405
Lost Horizon (1937)p. 406
Woman of the Year (1942)p. 408
King Kong (1933)p. 409
Queen Christina (1933)p. 410
Keepingp. 412
Portrait in Pastel of the Volunteer Friedrich-August Klaatsch, 1813p. 414
Hanging the Artistp. 417
Elementary Principles at Seventy-twop. 420