Streams

Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Artist Jen Bervin and Emily Dickinson scholar Martha Werner discuss putting together the first full-color facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts ever—a deluxe edition of her late writings, presented exactly as she wrote them on envelopes. The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems presents all 52 of the envelope writings reproduced life-size in full color both front and back, with an accompanying.

Poem written by Emily Dickinson on an envelope scrap.

Gorgeous Nothings, by Emily Dickinson, copyright ©2013 by Christine Burgin and New Directions. Transcription images copyright ©2013 by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Poem written by Emily Dickinson on an envelope scrap.

Gorgeous Nothings, by Emily Dickinson, copyright ©2013 by Christine Burgin and New Directions. Transcription images copyright ©2013 by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Poem written by Emily Dickinson on an envelope scrap.

Gorgeous Nothings, by Emily Dickinson, copyright ©2013 by Christine Burgin and New Directions. Transcription images copyright ©2013 by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Poem written by Emily Dickinson on an envelope scrap.

Gorgeous Nothings, by Emily Dickinson, copyright ©2013 by Christine Burgin and New Directions. Transcription images copyright ©2013 by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner. Reprinted by permission of New Directions Publishing Corp.

Guests:

Jen Bervin and Martha Werner

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Comments [6]

Jane Galer from Mendocino, CA

I bought the book just this week, it is beautiful and I am loving it! I disagree however with the translation of the handwriting in A277 - the repeated words 'years' and 'years' are not, to my eye, the same word. The first letter is very different. I have, as an archivist, some experience with 19th c handwriting. In addition, much is made of Emily's use of dashes and caps...this is not unusual in 19th c. handwriting. It is her words which are astonishing, not the randomness of the form. It is terrific to see her actual words unedited. Thanks to the authors for bringing us these treasures.

Jan. 25 2014 04:31 PM
Margaret Partner

Bill, Helen Hunt Jackson was a published poet, a contemporary of Emily's; an acquaintance but not a friend. She harangued Emily to publish but Emily obstinately resisted. See Emily's poem #260 I'm Nobody! Who are you?

J from NJ, Emily sewed many of her poems into little self-made booklets, later termed fascicles. No one knew these existed, not even her sister Lavinia, who discovered them in Emily's drawer after her death.

Jan. 25 2014 01:38 AM
Bill Zavatsky from New York

Leonard, My recollection is that Dickinson's friend Helen Hunt Jackson, a highly successful poet and author, persuaded Emily to let her send a few of her poems to a Boston newspaper. When they were published, Dickinson was shocked to see that the editors had "fixed" her poetry, changing meter and rhyme to fit their conventional ideas.

Jan. 23 2014 01:20 PM
bryan from ny

I usually rip the envelope open back into a sheet of paper. . But I've also found paper bags handy. .

Jan. 23 2014 01:20 PM
J from NJ

Not sure my question went through so trying it again...

I've learned that many of her poems were bundled together deliberately. My question: under what conditions or circumstances were these poems found?

Jan. 23 2014 01:20 PM
J from NJ

I know that many of her poems were found deliberately bundled together. In what condition or circumstances were these envelope poems "found"?

Jan. 23 2014 01:17 PM

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