A villa full of idols.
In his latest collection, “A Progressive Education” (2014), Mr. Howard imagined in poetic form the letters written collectively by a class of sixth graders in Sandusky, Ohio, circa 1950. Disturbed by a science experiment with mice, students write in “Recommended Curriculum Change”:
Is all Science a date of death?
Maybe in Seventh Grade we learn that there is no Destiny
after all it’s worse than Death and that’s
Life will be our Destiny.
Other poetry collections include “Lining Up” (1984), “Trappings” (1999), “Fallacies of Wonder” (2003), and “The Silent Treatment” (2005). The second volume of criticism, Paper Trail: Selected Prose 1965-2003, was published in 2004.
New York State’s award-winning poet from 1993 to 1995, Mr. Howard was at various times poetry editor of The Paris Review and the Western Humanities Review. After teaching English at the University of Houston for 10 years, she became a professor of writing at Columbia in 1997.
He lived in Greenwich Village. She and Mr Alexander were together for many years when they got married in 2012. He left no survivors.
Mr. Howard explained his attraction to the dramatic monologue performed by Robert Browning, in particular, to an audience in the theatre. PEN America Center in 2005.
“The secret Robert Browning conveyed was that when you speak in someone else’s voice, the speaker recorded in this way reveals something without realizing he is revealing,” he said. “There is something unacceptable in speech, in discourse, that escapes without the speaker’s awareness. And that – the speaker’s drama that reveals more than is known or suspected – sounded very appealing. I was a very sneaky little kid and it was a way of getting what I wanted.”