Victorian Primrose Pressed Between Heavy Volumes

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) wrote:

“To love is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”  Well, guess what!  “To blog is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.”  Now ya know!

My journal has gone into therapy. It accuses me of not speaking to it for long periods of time.  Throughout this time my nails have grown so long (no manicures please, just unpolished so I can use my hands without squealing: “Oh, I chipped a nail!”) it’s becoming difficult to type as they slide and skitter across the darn clumsy keys (some of which stick). Once typing is too tough, I’ll pick up my pen again and snuggle into the sheets.  I probably need a change of color having used rubine red ink for some time now, a transfer to deep purple would add a royal glow to my remarks.

Dickinson wrote and sent this poem, “A Route of Evanescence,” to Thomas Higginson in 1880.

"A Graphologist's Puzzle"

I have read very little on Graphology even though it fascinates me.  This looks intriguing; from the wee drop of knowledge I have, I notice “sad lines” with a slight downward slant. There are also generous gaps between the letters and this might unravel as…well…trying not to come unravelled. When letters don’t  join and are this far apart angst likely lurks within the writer.

Dickinson also wrote:

“A word is dead /when it is said, /some say./    I say/ it just begins/ to live that day.”

“This rings true for me:/ I set the word free”.(N.R. Rigets)

Emily and I are playing our own ‘Haiku’ games with these quotes.  Feels like hopscotch. Emily goes first:  4 / 4 / 2 and 2 / 4 / 4.  Now it’s my turn: 5 and 5!!  I’m one of Emily’s ‘new’ friends; having recently begun to pay attention to this reclusive Miss.

“Although Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime.  The work that was published during her lifetime was usually altered significantly by the publishers to fit the conventional poetic rules of the time. Dickinson’s poems are unique for the era in which she wrote; they contain short lines, typically lack titles, and often use slant rhyme as well as unconventional capitalization and punctuation.  Many of her poems deal with themes of death and immortality, two recurring topics in letters to her friends”. (Wikipedia)

“Her first collection of poetry was published in 1890 by personal acquaintances Thomas Wentworth Higginson and Mabel Loomis Todd, both of whom heavily edited the content. A complete and mostly unaltered collection of her poetry became available for the first time in 1955 when The Poems of Emily Dickinson was published by scholar Thomas H. Johnson.” (Wikipedia)

It is Thomas H. Johnson’s collection that interests me.  I don’t agree with original poems being censored with splotches of ink, or by strikes of a nib, or uninclusion.

Dickinson’s words have lived to tell. “Unable are the loved to die, for love is immortality.” This “predictive” quote comes alive when we acknowledge her niche in the temple of fame.

“Despite unfavorable reviews and skepticism of her literary prowess during the late 19th and early 20th century, she has become widely acknowledged as an innovative, pre-modernist poet.  As early as 1891, William Dean Howells wrote that “If nothing else had come out of life but this strange poetry, we should feel that in the work of Emily Dickinson, America, or New England rather, had made a distinctive addition to the literature of the world, and could not be left out of any record of it.”  Twentieth-century critic Harold Bloom has placed her alongside Walt WhitmanWallace StevensRobert FrostT. S. Eliot, and Hart Crane.” (Wikipedia)