The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poems (Hardcover)
On Our Shelves Now
The Gorgeous Nothings the first full-color facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson's manuscripts ever to appear is a deluxe edition of her late writings, presenting this crucially important, experimental late work exactly as she wrote it on scraps of envelopes. A never-before-possible glimpse into the process of one of our most important poets.The book presents all the envelope writings 52 reproduced life-size in full color both front and back, with an accompanying transcription to aid in the reading, allowing us to enjoy this little-known but important body of Dickinson's writing. Envisioned by the artist Jen Bervin and made possible by the extensive research of the Dickinson scholar Marta L. Werner, this book offers a new understanding and appreciation of the genius of Emily Dickinson.
About the Author
Emily Elizabeth Dickinson (December 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886) was an American poet. Born in Amherst, Massachusetts, to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Academy for seven years in her youth, she spent a short time at Mount Holyoke Female Seminary before returning to her family's house in Amherst. Considered an eccentric by the locals, she became known for her penchant for white clothing and her reluctance to greet guests or, later in life, even leave her room. Most of her friendships were therefore carried out by correspondence. While Dickinson was a prolific private poet, fewer than a dozen of her nearly 1,800 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. Although most of her acquaintances were probably aware of Dickinson's writing, it was not until after her death in 1886-when Lavinia, Dickinson's younger sister, discovered her cache of poems-that the breadth of Dickinson's work became apparent. 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 scholar Thomas H. Johnson published The Poems of Emily Dickinson. Despite some unfavorable reviews and some skepticism during the late 19th and early 20th century about Dickinson's literary prowess, Dickinson is now almost universally considered to be one of the most important American poets.
Poet and visual artist Jen Bervin's work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses poetry, artist books, large-scale art works, and archival research. Her poetry/artist books include The Dickinson Composites (Granary Books, 2010), The Silver Book (Ugly Duckling Presse chapbook, 2010), The Desert (Granary Books, 2008), A Non- Breaking Space (UDP, 2005, web-only), The Red Box (UDP, 2004), and NETS (Ugly Ducling Presse, 2004). Bervin's work has been shown at The Walker Art Center and The Wright Exhibition Space, and is in many special collections including the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Stanford University, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and the British Library. She has received fellowships in art and writing from The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, Centrum, The MacDowell Colony, Visual Studies Workshop, and The Camargo Foundation and is an editor-at-large for jubilat. Bervin will teach at Vermont College of Fine Arts and Harvard University in 2011. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Marta Werner s books include Emily Dickinson s Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing and Radical Scatters: An Electronic Archive of Emily Dickinson s Late Fragments and Related Texts.