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Posts Tagged ‘American Antiquarian Society’

Called Back

October 30, 2013 | by

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Emily Dickinson published only ten poems. Printed in various newspapers, her verses all appeared anonymously. It was not some failure of contemporary taste but her own decision that kept the rest of her poetry private. Dickinson wrote in one poem that “Publication—is the Auction / Of the Mind of Man—” and indeed she seems to have felt there was something crass, even violative about fixing one’s words in a particular arrangement of type, surrendering them for a price.

And yet, I am grateful to have been able to pay small sums of money for her poetry. A few complete editions, two selected volumes, and one pocket collection: new and used, hardback and paperback, her poetry has always been something for which I was willing to pay. I dreamed of sitting by the fire with my Emily Dickinson while someone I loved sat reading Robert Frost. I collected all these copies of her poetry so that no matter where I went, I would be ready for those dangling conversations.

But the books I gathered have gotten to rest these last few days as I’ve spent hours clicking away in the Emily Dickinson Archive. For the first time since her death, almost all of her poetry, published and unpublished, finished and unfinished, appears together in high-resolution scans, just waiting for readers and scholars to page through it electronically.

The first poem I ever received by e-mail was one by Emily Dickinson. Ten years ago, on what would be one of my last true snow days, when school was cancelled and all the world was covered in possibility, a teacher sent me an e-mail: “Don’t forget to put down the books and enjoy some of this winter wonderland,” she wrote, and then beneath her signature included the text of Emily Dickinson’s “It sifts from Leaden Sieves.” Read More »

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Chaucer Invented the Word Tweet, and Other News

October 29, 2012 | by

  • Geoffrey Chaucer “provides our earliest ex. of twitter, verb: of a bird: to utter a succession of light tremulous notes; to chirp continuously.” See this, and his other contributions to language, on this handy-dandy word cloud.
  • Garcia Marquez takes Mexico City! (He already lives there, but the city is celebrating fifty years of calling Gabo a son with some forty thousand posters.)
  • This flowchart outlines how to publish a book (and makes it look so easy and colorful!).
  • William Faulkner and Woody Allen are in a feud. Okay, it’s actually the Faulkner Estate and Sony Pictures, which used a Faulkner quote in Midnight in Paris.
  • Happy birthday, American Antiquarian Society.
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