How Is Travel a Folded Form?
Poetry/lyric essay, now out from Saddle Road Press, August 2018
How is Travel a Folded Form? is a question that moves through the American landscape, imagining how different eras might interrogate each other. The book revels in the history and peculiarities of the national tourist machine, while remaining rooted in the continent’s palpable presence. If this is a travel guide, it is perpetually unfinished, uncertain, wondering and wandering toward a destination as changeable as water.
“A glorious hybrid of the historical and the personal, the documentary and the experimental, Erika Howsare’s new book follows the journey of a contemporary speaker and the nineteenth-century English traveler Isabella Bird as they move across the American West. It offers a running discourse on poetics as well, interspersing travelogue with self-referential notes about its own composition. As the reader (“you”) joins the original pair on an expedition that begins to feel more circular than linear, How Is Travel a Folded Form? both enacts its title and leaves us to ponder its implications.”—Martha Collins
“I love the playful and intimate way this book interrogates not only pilgrimage and tourism, but also how we reflect on and document those states of being. I’m also drawn to its materiality, its Yellowstone printed on coasters and plastic soldiers on the dashboard, how the layers of its pages resist closure, and how it exists in time and space as the body does, constantly revising. Its speaker stays right with you, even when she is having misgivings, and you all get to know some country. Erika Howsare is one of my favorite writers for a long list of reasons; one, because she manages to look so closely and also so broadly: here is some ‘lumpy handwriting’ and here is cosmogony.”—Jen Tynes
FILL: A Collection (with Kate Schapira)
Collaborative poetry, out from Trembling Pillow Press, 2016
Kate Schapira and I wrote our way into a welter of waste, which blooms off every spent milk jug and engineered riverbed, a place where a scavenger traverses the remains of a world. The wastenaut is “one sick tree in an orange grove, a lost shred of tire on concrete, a broadcast breaking up near Saturn.” Among the detritus, we attempted to map responsibility and habit, power and self-satisfaction, loss and change. “The landfill is no land at all; it’s a place at the end of land, which we fill with what will never turn into land, and then it does, it quakes, it emits, just like us. If you could only be a scavenger, would you rather not live?” Language, cells, people, materials, life forms and systems in FILL: A Collection accumulate, rot, revise, transform, degrade, but never disappear.
Chapbook: Spinning Pins
Published by Magnificent Field, 2018
This chapbook explores examples of history-on-the-spot, points where something has happened, the fourth dimension in its twisting hereness. It also contains a story of two people, one an itinerant mural painter, the other a domestic servant, whose different working realms raise questions about what is daily and what is monumental; what commemorates, what mostly occurs.
Horse Less Press, 2013
The Ohio System (with Jen Tynes)
Octopus Press, 2006
Roadblock/Sitelines (with Kate Schapira)
online at The Cultural Society, 2010
Elect June Grooms
Horse Less Press, 2004