2014 National Book Award Finalist, Poetry


Second Childhood by Fanny Howe Fanny Howe

Second Childhood

Graywolf Press

ISBN: 978-1555976828


Fanny Howe’s sixteenth book of poetry, Second Childhood, is a spiritual meditation in human terms. As children are both open-hearted and defenseless, so Howe sees us all, cast on currents of epiphany and accident. In Second Childhood, ordinary loneliness achieves unusual buoyancy as the reader learns to live companionably with both hope and fear. The interior space of a human life becomes luminous in all its confusion and appetite.


Fanny Howe’s poetry is known for its lyricism, fragmentation, experimentation, religious engagement, and commitment to social justice. In Second Childhood, the observing poet is an impersonal figure who accompanies Howe in her encounters with chance and mystery. She is not one age or the other, in one time or another. She writes, “The first question in the Catechism is: / What was humanity born for? / To be happy is the correct answer.”


Fanny Howe is the author of more than twenty books of poetry and prose, including most recently Come and See, The Lyrics, and The Winter Sun: Notes on a Vocation. In 2009, she received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize from the Poetry Foundation for lifetime achievement. She is also the recipient of the Gold Medal for Poetry from the Commonwealth Club of California. In addition, her Selected Poems received the 2001 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for the Most Outstanding Book of Poetry Published in 2000 from the Academy of American Poets. Her collection On the Ground was a finalist for the Griffin International Poetry Prize. She lives in New England.


Excerpt from Second Childhood. Copyright © 2014 by Fanny Howe. Used by permission of Graywolf Press. All rights reserved. www.graywolfpress.org

Fanny Howe excerpt from Second Childhood


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