How is Travel a Folded Form? is a question moving through the American landscape. Formally playful, the book interweaves an episodic tale with quotations and notes (purportedly toward a travel guidebook) springing from two historical perspectives: one, that of Isabella Bird, a famous 19th-century traveler; the other, that of a 21st century American. The book revels in the peculiarities of the national tourist machine, while remaining rooted in the continent's palpable presence. If this is a guidebook, 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. 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