Richard Howard, acclaimed poet and translator, dies at 92

a villa filled with idols.

Credit…turtle tip press

In “A Progressive Education” (2014), his last published collection, Mr. Howard imagined, in verse form, letters written collectively by a class of sixth-graders in Sandusky, Ohio, around 1950. Disturbed by an experience scientist with mice, the students write, in “A Proposed Curriculum Change”:

Is all science a story of death?

Maybe we’ll learn in seventh grade that there’s no fate

is worse than death after all, and that

Life will be… our destiny.

His other poetry collections included “Lining Up” (1984), “Trappings” (1999), “Fallacies of Wonder” (2003) and “The Silent Treatment” (2005). A second volume of reviews, “Paper Trail: Selected Prose 1965-2003”, was published in 2004.

Mr. Howard, New York State Poet Laureate from 1993 to 1995, has served as the poetry editor of the Paris Review and the Western Humanities Review on several occasions. After teaching English at the University of Houston for 10 years, he became a writing professor at Columbia in 1997.

He lived in Greenwich Village. He and Mr Alexander had been together for many years when they married in 2012. He leaves no other survivors.

Mr. Howard explained his attraction to the dramatic monologue, particularly as practiced by Robert Browning, to an audience at the PEN America Center in 2005.

“The secret that Robert Browning communicated was that when you speak with someone else’s voice, the speaker, so recorded, reveals something without realizing that he is revealing it,” he said. declared. “There is something unacknowledged in the word, in the discourse, which escapes without the speaker realizing it. And it was this – the drama of the speaker revealing more than was known or suspected – that appealed so strongly. I was a very sneaky little boy, and it was a way to get what I wanted.