New Haven is a relatively small city in the southern part of New England and one of the oldest in the United States. The land was bought from the Quinnipiac tribe in the 17th century and a center was set and organized in a 4 by 4 grid pattern, famously called the 9 square plan. The city is the home of Yale University. Following Howe’s texts and references, I went there to work at The Yale Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript library, specifically to look at Howe’s own archive and Reverend Jonathan Edwards’ notes.

"The Beinecke was constructed from Vermont marble and granite, bronze and glass, during the early 1960’s. The structure displays and contains acquisitive violence the rapacious ’fetching.’ involved in collecting—on the other hand—it radiates a sense of peace. Downstairs, in the Modernist reading room I hear the purr of the air filtration system, the rippling sound of pages turning, singular out of tune melodies of computers re-booting.”1

 I hear:

Placed roughly in the center of the reading room, facing Picabia’s light green and blue oil painting of Gertrude Stein, it - she - is watching over me as I touch on the past. The yellowing crumbling leaf‘s past as letter and note’s past as stem and crown, passed between hands touching seeing – touching listening, grows. Gloves aren’t required. I am a researcher and trust is bestowed upon me. Also, nothing escapes the doubled vision of the security guard outside the glass door. Her eyes are connected to the other invisible one’s, screening the video, transmitted from where I sit. The guard comes up to me and politely she says:
”The folder isn’t allowed in here. Please remove it when you have a moment.”
And then she leaves. Eyes - tools - eyes connected in cyborgian surveillance. Within this marble block of historical weight, there is no unpleasantness needed, there is no threat, only awe.

The archives - deep and still – highly guarded past
Past as in förflutet - what was – and past as in förbi
Guarded Past Centuries
Vaktat Förflutet Förbi eller Genom – Across – Århundraden.

“I am drawn toward the disciplines of history and literary criticism but in the dawning distance a dark wall of rule supports the structure of every letter, record, transcript: every proof of authority and power. I know records are compiled by winners, and scholarship is in collusion with Civil Government. I know this and go on searching for some trace of love’s infolding through all the paper in all the libraries I come to.”2

The writer Litia Perta has written that the way we enter the archive determines what we find and that:
“There is no thing inside the archive whose meaning is singular or terminal.  As a constantly shifting system of organization, its very nature is such that it must always be pliable, flexible, open enough to sustain the ever present possibility of meanings that are new and other to it, meanings that are (always) still yet to come.”3 

Call number YCAL MSS 338. BOX 12, SUSAN HOWE, in one of the spiral notebooks I find this note,
this calculation:

Many + Many + Many

History is an on-going process, written as we speak, listen as our speech – fragments – Many + Many + Many – factual matters – matters of fact, pages turning – cross-readings across – turns of events and times.

What was and What is, deceptively separable both in chronological measure and as words on a page, seem as if two
Faces, metaphorical as physical – are as
Phases - temporary multiplicities

"Each collected object or manuscript is a pre-articulate empty theater where a thought may surprise itself at the instant of seeing. Where a thought may hear itself see."4

Now arise – Now a rose

“And behold / the Academies like structures in a mist”5

Work in here distinguishes itself from work out there. Submitting completely to this sheltered old haven this privileged capsule of rock solid travel in times, from outside I can still
Here -
the faint sound of sirens.




1. Susan Howe, Spontaneous Particulars: The Telepathy of Archives, New Directions, NY, 2014.
2. Susan Howe, The Birth-Mark - Unsettling the wilderness in American literary history, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, p.4
3. Litia Perta, Archival Folds: Effacement, Erasure, Disappearance. 2013 MS Collection of the University of California, Berkley

4. Susan Howe, Spontaneous Particulars: The Telepathy of Archives, New Directions, NY, 2014.
5. Wallace Stevens cited in Susan Howe, The Birth-Mark - Unsettling the wilderness in American literary history, Wesleyan University Press, Middletown, p. 4