Fanny Howe

Fanny Howe is a prolific writer of novels, poetry. and fiction for young adults. Her poem collections include For Erato: The Meaning of Life ( Tuumba, 1984); Alsace-Lorraine (Telephone Books, 1982): and Poem from a Single Pallet ( Kelsey St. Press, 1980). Her most recent novel, In the Middle of Nowhere, was published by The Fiction Collective and an essay on ecstatic writing will soon appear in Ironwood. She teaches at MIT.


This poem sequence is dedicated to Hans Zucker and Ilona Karmel. It has been three years in the making, was originally much longer and more rambling. Its subject is the mystery of suffering and the healing of time, which itself is an enigma. The title refers to the Christian ritual of celebrating the new life on Palm Sunday with the sharing of palms, and the burning of the leftover palms the following year on Ash Wednesday, the day which acknowledges the dispensable nature of individual existence. Between physics and metaphysics there is a pressure zone which is often very explicit in a time when there is no comfort.