Posts Tagged ‘Emily Dickinson’

These are some of my favorite biographies (and one autobiography) of famous women; they are books I have read and reread over the past several years. They are all well-written and insightful and certainly worth spending time with. (The dust jackets are linked with the library catalog record in case you want to check it out or place a hold.)

Virinia Woolf by Hermione Lee


Savage beauty: the life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford


Garbo: A Biography by Barry Paris


Audrey Hepburn by Barry Paris


My wars are laid away in books: the life of Emily Dickinson by Alfred Habegger


An unquiet mind by Kay Redfield Jamison

Read Full Post »

Photograph of beach 

A something in a summer’s Day
As slow her flambeaux burn away
Which solemnizes me.

A something in a summer’s noon —
A depth — an Azure — a perfume —
Transcending ecstasy.

And still within a summer’s night
A something so transporting bright
I clap my hands to see —

Then veil my too inspecting face
Lets such a subtle — shimmering grace
Flutter too far for me —

The wizard fingers never rest —
The purple brook within the breast
Still chafes it’s narrow bed —

Still rears the East her amber Flag —
Guides still the sun along the Crag
His Caravan of Red —

So looking on — the night — the morn
Conclude the wonder gay —
And I meet, coming thro’ the dews
Another summer’s Day!

by Emily Dickinson


Read Full Post »

If You Were Coming in the Fall

Emily DickinsonAh, Emily Dickinson. There is something so appealing and yet so elusive in her poetry. Just when I think I understand it, I realize there’s much more there than I saw at first glance. This poem about the absence of a loved one and the uncertainty of his return is one of my favorites. Van Dieman’s land is apparently another name for the island Tasmania which is now part of Australia. In any case, it is somewhere far away from where she is.

If you were coming in the fall,
I’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I’d count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemen’s land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I’d toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

Read Full Post »

Thursday Thirteen #14
April is National Poetry Month, so to celebrate I compiled a list of poets that I’m fond of and went in search of facts about them. I actually ended up with more than thirteen facts, but I didn’t think that you all would mind. As a bonus, you get to discover some of the poets I enjoy. (It turns out that Auguste Rodin was a great deal more influential than I ever knew. He knew two of the poets on this list.)

Thirteen Poets/Thirteen+ Facts
1. Shel Silverstein (American cartoonist/poet, 1932-1999) – Apart from his famous books of poetry for children, Mr. Silverstein also wrote the song “A Boy Named Sue,” made famous by Johnny Cash. (Read some poetry)

2. Maya Angelou (American writer, 1928- ) – Maya Angelou was born “Marguerite Johnson” on 4 April 1928. (Read some poetry)

3. Khalil Gibran (Lebanese poet, 1883-1931) – At one point, Gibran studied under the sculptor Auguste Rodin at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. (Read some poetry)

4. John Donne (English poet, 1572-1631) – Donne was born and raised a Roman Catholic, but eventually converted to Church of England. Later, King James pressured him into becoming an Anglican Priest. He and his wife had twelve children (she died bringing the twelfth into the world.) (Read some poetry)

5. Rainer Maria Rilke (German poet, 1875-1926) – Rilke worked as Auguste Rodin’s secretary from 1905-1906. His birth name was Rene Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke. (Read some poetry)

6. Dylan Thomas (Welsh poet, 1914-1953) – Thomas served as an anti-aircraft gunner during World War II. He was only 39 when he died. (Read some poetry)

7. Emily Dickinson (American poet, 1830-1886) – Dickinson’s poems were not gathered and published without edits until 1955. Only seven of her poems were published during her lifetime, and all were edited by others before publishing. (Read some poetry)

8. Arthur Rimbaud (French poet, 1854-1891) – Rimbaud “fell silent” (stopped writing poetry) at the age of nineteen. It is said that he chose to live life rather than write about it. (Read some poetry)

9. Billy Collins (American poet, 1941- ) – Mr. Collins was the poet laureate of the U.S. from 2001-2003 and the driving force behind Poetry 180. He once appeared on the radio show A Prairie Home Companion and seemed to be having a lot of fun. (Read some poetry)

10. Robert Frost (American poet, 1874-1963) – Frost won the Pulitzer prize for poetry four times. He outlived his wife and most of his children. (Read some poetry)

11. Anne Sexton (American poet, 1928-1974) – Sexton worked as a model at one point. She began writing poetry at the suggestion of her psychiatrist, and was encouraged by him to write more when she turned out to be quite good at it. (Read some poetry)

12. William Shakespeare (English playwright, 1564-1616) – At eighteen, Shakespeare married a woman eight years older than him (Anne Hathaway) who gave birth to her first child six months later. There is some indication that the marriage was a bit…hasty. (Read some poetry)

13. Sylvia Plath (American poet, 1932-1963) – Plath suffered from what was apparently bipolar disorder, and ended up taking her own life at age 30. (Read some poetry)

The Biography Resource Center (Database)
Poets.org from the Academy of American Poets.

Read Full Post »