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November 28, 2016

Small Scraps Holding Gigantic Thoughts


Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry - Only ten of her poems were published in her lifetime, all anonymously;
publication was, as she put it, as “foreign to my thought, as Firmament to Fin.” Not that she intended her poems to go unread—she often sent them in letters to friends, sometimes with other enclosures: dried flowers, a three-cent stamp, a dead cricket. She also tried a form of self-publishing: from around 1858 until roughly 1864, she gathered her poems into forty homemade books, known as “fascicles,” by folding single sheets of blank paper in half to form four consecutive pages, which she then wrote on and, later, bound, one folded sheet on another, with red-and-white thread strung through crudely punched holes. These books were found in Dickinson’s room after her death, in 1886, by her sister, Lavinia, along with hundreds more poems in various states of composition, plus, intriguingly, the “scraps,” a cache of lines that Dickinson wrote on scavenged paper: the flap of a manila envelope, the backs of letters, chocolate wrappers, bits of newspaper.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at November 28, 2016 9:18 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

One wonders whether and in what way Ms. Dickinson might have made use of today's social media if she were alive today.

Posted by: Grizzly at November 29, 2016 4:58 PM

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