Miss Pym and a Friend

Miss Pym and a Friend

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Happy Birthday, Emily Dickinson! 186th!

For the Belle of Amherst, an announcement below.  Immediately following is one of my tributes to her, published in my book, Sappho, I Should have Listened: 

Displaying image002.jpg

Dickinson Meets Hemingway

My life had stood a
Loaded Gun,
And so I shot the elk.

And then I said,
"Let's have a Drink,"
And so I
Toast Myself.

See below (and attached-note: if you print from the attachment, the poem text is legal size 8 ½ x 14 inch paper) poems to be discussed at the Bettendorf Public Library Saturday 10 December at 2:00 p.m.  Birthday cake from Café' D'Marie.  Also the text of my article about the program that was in the 1 December Bettendorf News.  See some of you Saturday, I hope-Hedy

Celebrate the 186th
Birthday of
Emily Dickinson
December 10, 2016

[Emily Dickinson by Kat Hustedde]Led by Dr. Bea Jacobson, St. Ambrose University

2 p.m. in the Emily Dickinson Garden (weather permitting) for a short commemoration, then immediately retire to the Malmros Room for cake and discussion of
 Books, Reading & Shakespeare in Dickinson's Poetry

Numbering of the following poems is that used by R.W. Franklin in The Poems of Emily Dickinson 811.4 DI

F435 (1862)
Not in this World to see his face -
Sounds long - until I read the place
Where this - is said to be
But just the Primer - to a life -
Unopened - rare- Opon the Shelf -
Clasped yet - to Him - and me -

And yet - My Primer suits me so
I would not choose - a Book to know
Than that - be sweeter wise -
Might some one else - so learned - be -
And leave me - just my A - B - C-
Himself - could have the Skies -
F512 (1863)
Unto my Books - so good to turn -
Far ends of tired Days -
It half endears the Abstinence -
And Pain - is missed - in Praise.

As Flavors - cheer Retarded Guests
With Banquettings to be -
So Spices - stimulate the time
Till my small Library -

It may be Wilderness - without -
Far feet of failing Men -
But Holiday - excludes the night -
And it is Bells - within -

I thank these Kinsmen of the Shelf -
Their Countenances Kid
Enamor - in Prospective -
And satisfy - obtained -

F531 (1863)
We learned the Whole of Love -
The Alphabet - the Words -
A Chapter - then the mighty Book -
then - Revelation closed -

But in each Other's eyes
An Ignorance beheld -
Diviner than the Childhood's
And each to each, a Child -

Attempted to expound
What neither - understood -
Alas, that Wisdom is so large -
And Truth -so manifold!

F569 (1863)
A precious - mouldering pleasure - 'tis -
To meet an Antique Book -
In just the Dress his Century wore -
A privilege - I think -

His venerable Hand to take -
And warming in our own -
A passage back - or two - to make -
To Times when he - was young -

His quaint opinions - to inspect -
His thought to ascertain
On Themes concern our mutual mind -
The Literature of Man -

What interested Scholars - most -
What Competitions ran -
When Plato - was a Certainty -
And Sophocles - a Man -

When Sappho - was a living Girl -
And Beatrice wore
The Gown that Dante - deified -
Facts Centuries before

He traverses - familiar -
As One should come to Town -
And tell you all your Dreams - were true -
He lived - where Dreams were born -

His presence is enchantment -
You beg him not to go -
Old Volumes shake their Vellum Heads
And tantalize - just so-

F627 (1863)
I think I was enchanted
When first a somber Girl -
I read that Foreign Lady -
The Dark - felt beautiful -

And whether it was noon at night -
Or only Heaven - at noon -
For very Lunacy of Light
I had not power to tell -

The Bees - became as Butterflies -
The Butterflies - as Swans -
Approached - and spurned the narrow Grass -
And just the meanest Tunes

That Nature murmured to herself
To keep herself in Cheer -
I took for Giants - practicing
Titanic Opera -

The Days - to Mighty Metres stept -
The Homeliest - adorned
As if unto a Jubilee
'Twere suddenly confirmed -

I could not have defined the change -
Conversion of the Mind
Like Sanctifying in the Soul -
Is witnessed - not explained -

"Twas a Divine Insanity -
The Danger to be sane
Should I again experience -
'Tis Antidote to turn -

To Tmes of Solid Witchcraft -
Magicians be asleep -
But Magic - hath an element
Like Deity - to keep -

F700 (1863)
The Way I read a Letter's - this -
'Tis first - I lock the Door -
And push it with my fingers - next -
For transport it be sure -

And then I go the furthest off
To counteract a knock -
Then draw my little Letter forth
And slowly pick the lock -

Then - glancing narrow, at the Wall -
And narrow at the floor
For firm Conviction of a Mouse
Not exorcised before -

Peruse how infinite I am
To no one that You - know -
And sigh for lack of Heaven - but not
The Heaven God bestow -

F776 (1863)
Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day
That arise and set about Us -
Other Tragedy

Perish in the Recitation -
This - the best enact
When the Audience is scattered
And the Boxes shut -

"Hamlet" to Himself were Hamlet -
Had not Shakespeare wrote -
Though the "Romeo" left no Record
of his Juliet,

It were infinite enacted
In the Human Heart -
Only Theatre recorded
Owner cannot shut -

F1247 (1872)
We like a Hairbreadth 'scape
It tingles in the Mind
Far after Act or Accident
Like paragraphs of Wind

If we had ventured less
The Breeze were not so fine
That reaches to our utmost Hair
It's Tentacles divine.

F1268 (1872)
A Word dropped careless on a Page
May consecrate an Eye
When folded in perpetual seam
The Wrinkled Author lie

Infection in the sentence breeds
We may inhale Despair
At distances of Centuries
From the Malaria-

F1286 (1873)
There is no Frigate like a Book
To take us Lands away
Nor any Coursers like a Page
Of prancing Poetry -
This Traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of Toll -
How frugal is the Chariot
That bears the Human Soul -

F1489  (1879)
A Route of Evanescence,
With a revolving Wheel -
A Resonance of Emerald
A Rush of Cochineal -
And every Blossom on the Bush
Adjusts it's tumbled Head -
The Mail from Tunis - probably,
An easy Morning's Ride -

It has been 400 years since the death of the great English playwright William Shakespeare.  The Bettendorf Public Library has done its part to commemorate Shakespeare by hosting two scholar-led book discussions of "Richard III".  This month we are adding a touch of Shakespeare to our biannual discussion of Emily Dickinson's poetry which will be led by Dickinson scholar, St. Ambrose University Professor Emeritus Bea Jacobson.
Jacobson earned her doctorate at the University of Iowa where she wrote a dissertation on Emily Dickinson.  At St Ambrose she specialized in early American literature, women's literature, and ethnic literature with a focus on global feminism.
Jacobson noted that Dickinson refers directly to Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet in "Drama's Vitallest Expression is the Common Day" (1863) with allusions to Shakespeare in two other poems that will be discussed.  The rest of the poems on the roster will focus on the beauty and power of books and reading.  The most famous one is undoubtedly "There is no Frigate like a Book" (1873). But there's also "Unto my Books - so good to turn - " (1863), "We learned the Whole of Love - " (1863), and "A Word dropped careless on a Page" (1872).
We have always discussed Dickinson on or around December 10, the date of her birth, and on or around May 15, the date of her death.  She was an avid gardener and was buried with a bouquet of violets and heliotrope in her hands. The Library's Emily Dickinson Garden was dedicated on May 15, 2004, with a lecture, Dickinson impersonator, music and food indicative of the 19th century, announcement of winners of a poetry contest, and a butterfly release.  The garden was researched, designed, and planted by Scott County Master Gardeners and other volunteers.  It contained heritage plants which Dickinson herself was likely to have had in her own garden.  Certainly, they were named in one or more of her poems.  Over the years, some of these plants have died out and some have moved around, but the Emily Dickinson Garden featuring the bronze bust of Dickinson sculpted by Kenn Brinson has become an interesting ever-changing feature of the Library grounds.
Sometimes the bust will be wearing rabbit ears or a Santa hat or the eyes will be stuffed with red crabapples giving her a rather weird gaze.  There is always something growing, blooming, or reseeding attracting bees in summer and birds in winter.  The discussion on Saturday, December 10, will start at 2:00 p.m. with a brief salute to Dickinson in the Garden, weather permitting.  Participants will proceed to the Malmros Room in the Library for discussion and dessert on ceramic plates embellished with phrases from Dickinson's poetry in calligraphy by librarian Hedy Hustedde and illustrations by her daughter Kat who teaches high school art in Mequon, Wisconsin.   Hardcopies of the poems to be discussed are available at the Library.  Those who find poetry inscrutable are especially invited to the discussion.  There will be cake.

No comments:

Post a Comment