Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Some Links to “The Reality” of Emily Dickinson

I say “The Reality” in the title up there; but, knowing Emily Dickinson’s true nature is a seemingly impossible adventure. Emily Elizabeth Dickinson

As she said:

I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don’t tell! they’d advertise – you know!

How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!

There are the “authorized” collections of her poetry (both claiming to contain “All” her poems):

The Poems of Emily Dickinson

The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Both those books make the assertion of being authoritative yet they have small differences in nearly every poem…

Then, there is the plethora of collections that are from earlier sources that have the very worst versions of her exquisite poetry.

The following two links will give you a bit of insight into the strange saga of Emily’s publication (she herself told her sister to destroy her poems when she died…):

Somewhere in an Attic: The Emily Dickinson Publishing Dilemma

Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry

That last link contains information about an artistic edition of what are called her Envelope Poems—extremely unique jottings on all kinds of bits of paper…

Emily had amazingly distinctive handwriting and ultra-creative punctuation.

If you want to cypher-out some of her reality from high resolution images of the actual surviving pieces, do check out:

Emily Dickinson Archive

From the biography page on the Emily Dickinson Museum Site are these words (the italics are from me…):

“After her death, her poems and life story were brought to the attention of the wider world through the competing efforts of family members and intimates.”

Long live the Spirit of Emily Dickinson………
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2 responses to “Some Links to “The Reality” of Emily Dickinson

  1. Jane Watson December 12, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    I was reading the ‘Envelope Poems’ the other day while browsing in my local bookshop. Apparently they are extracted from a longer work of her poems on scraps of envelopes called ‘The Gorgeous Nothings’. It is amazing to see the actual handwriting and composition of such an wonderful poet – and I don’t think I will ever feel the same way about throwing out an opened used envelope again. What a wasteful society we are!


  2. Alexander M Zoltai December 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Yes, we do waste so much, Jane…

    The Gorgeous Nothings is mentioned in the New Yorker piece…

    Think you’ll ever write a poem or a flash fiction story on some scraps? :-)


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