store blog by offering up our books by or about Eleanor Roosevelt, who led an international committee in drafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and Emily Dickinson, who wrote a jillion poems and sewed them up in little packets and stored them in a chest in her closet.
I celebrated in advance by making some collage bookmarks, each with the first line of an Emily Dickinson poem glued somewhere into the collage.
Dave is celebrating in his blog today (Via Negativa in the blogroll) by airing some podcasts of various people reading poems by Emily Dickinson. If I can master my technology challenge, or get someone to help me, I will send along a recording, too! Here, by the way, is his Woodrat Podcast for Thanksgiving, as I am thankful for Human Rights Day! (Which I will celebrate by writing some letters for Amnesty International.)
I suggested to Dave that he contact Kelli Russell Agodon, who wrote the book Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, for a recording, and I am further celebrating by returning to my reading of that book. (I read around in it when it first arrived so I wouldn't just race through, and then last night I gorged on it. I must have been really hungry for poetry after reading Loving Frank. I promise I will re-read more slowly and carefully, and chew each bite 35 times, Amanda Wingfield...and Helen Stevenson. OK, enough of that.) Anyhoo....
real place not just in Amherst, at Emily's family home, called the Homestead, but in Oregon, in the Sylvia Beach Hotel!
Kelli's poems are also delightful--clever, wise, funny, and oh, my God, the anagram poems are amazing! Here is a snippet from "Xanax Prescription Goes Unfulfilled."
Let me trust my emotions
because even in my nuttiest rooms,
I find safety in words. I satisfy wonder,
to alphabetize is to baptize and heal.
And then, utterly resisting "Dr. Xanax," she insists:
Let me get through this
as with that
as with that
These poems treat the huge subjects of poetry--God, love, death--as did Emily's, and echo and allude to other great artists. She explores the letter form, as the book's title promises, in such poems as "Letter to Vincent Van Gogh, Who Loved Silence" and "Letter to Walt Whitman, Who Painted Butterflies." And, as I love coincidence, I just have to mention that some of my bookmark collages included cardboard butterflies, which feature in Kelli's Whitman poem, that starts off with this newsy epigraph: In 1942, Whitman's handmade cardboard butterfly disappeared from the Library of Congress. It was found in a New York attic in 1995.
Of course, Emily Dickinson loved butterflies, too!
And, of course, my cardboard butterflies came from a Kleenex box.