The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope Poemsby Emily Dickinson, Jen Bervin (Editor), Marta Werner (Editor), Susan Howe (Preface by)
The Gorgeous Nothings is a pivotal book: the first full-color publication of Emily Dickinson’s complete envelope writings in facsimile from her visually stunning manuscripts, here in a deluxe, large-scale editionThe 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.
This exquisite reproduction of a collection of envelopes that Dickinson (1830–86) covered with scraps of poems and delightfully enigmatic phrases has not only literary value but also stunning pictorial presence. In a title originally published as an artist book by Steve Clay of Granary Books, editors Werner (The Dickinson Composites) and Bervin (Emily Dickinson's Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing) introduce (on facing pages) scanned images and visual transcriptions of envelopes that Dickinson used to draft poems or to jot down some idiosyncratic phrase that may have haunted her thoughts. Each page presents a single envelope or (in some cases) a scrap of an envelope covered with the poet's sometimes gnomic script against a stark white background. On the facing page is an outline of the same piece of envelope and within it are transcribed the words penciled on the surface. Approximately 180 pages of these images and their transcriptions, along with an introduction by Bervin and a closing essay by Werner, fill this oversize volume. Also included are indexes by page shape (i.e., flaps, seals, arrows, pointless arrows), address, multidirectional text, and cancelled or erased text, among others. VERDICT Though this book will be of limited value in a public or school library, it is a scholarly and artistic gold mine for researchers and those obsessed with Dickinsonian minutiae. The scanned envelopes are also available online at the Emily Dickinson Archive.—Herman Sutter, St. Agnes Acad., Houston
- New Directions Publishing Corporation
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- 9.60(w) x 12.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Meet the Author
Arguably America’s greatest poet, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) published fewer than a dozen of her eighteen hundred poems during her lifetime.
Jen Bervin’s work includes The Dickinson Composites, The Desert, and Nets.
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.
Author of more than a dozen books of poetry and two of literary criticism, Susan Howe's recent collection of poems That This, published by New Directions won the Bollingen Prize in 2011. Her earlier critical study, My Emily Dickinson, was re-issued in 2007 with an introduction by Eliot Weinberger. Three CDs in collaboration with the musician/composer David Grubbs, Thiefth,Souls of the Labadie Tract, and Frolic Architecturewere released on the Blue Chopsticks label (2005; 2011). Howe held the Samuel P. Capen Chair in Poetry and the Humanities at the State University New York at Buffalo until her retirement in 2007. The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1999 and served as a Chancellor to the Academy of American Poets between 2000-2006. In fall, 2009 she was awarded a Fellowship to the American Academy at Berlin. Grenfell Press published a fine press edition of “Frolic Architecture with photographic prints by James Welling in 2009. Recently she was an Artist In Residence at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. In October, 2013 her word collages were exhibited at the Yale Union in Portland, Oregon, and in the Whitney Biennial Spring, 2014. A limited press edition of Tom Tit Tot (the word collages which amount to a series poem) with art work by R.H. Quaytman has just been published by MoMA in New York, and Spontaneous Particulars:The Telepathy of Archives, (2014) published by Christine Burgin and New Directions.
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A gorgeous publication and a beautiful concept. For E Dickinson and ephemera lovers and collectors everywhere. Definitely NOT a book to be bought electronically. These facsimiles and their 'translations' need to be held and viewed in their printed version only.