Thursday, January 12, 2017

Woman of Letters

Forever is composed of nows.
~Emily Dickinson

Sharing a poem from Emily Dickinson, Woman of Letters: Poems and Centos From Lines in Emily Dickinson's Letters by Lewis Turco today. Thanks, Lew! A bit about the book:
Buried in Emily Dickinson's letters are many lines that are stunningly beautiful, as beautiful as any to be found in her poems. Lewis Turco has taken some of these lines and written poems from them, on them, and around them. This volume, then, is a collaboration between two writers, one a 19th-century woman whose work became known to most readers only in the 20th century, and the other a post-modernist man of letters--an award-winning poet, critic, and scholar.

photo by baerchen57


    Who is approaching?
Oh, arctic February
    wading through snowdrifts.

    I have heard birds sing,
but I fear their bills will be
    frozen closed before

    their songs are finished.
Not yet has old King Frost had
    the cold pleasure of

    snatching them in his
frigid embrace. Would that we
    might spend this year, now

    fleeting swiftly by,
better than the one that we
    cannot now recall.


You can find the Poetry Friday round-up at Keri Recommends. Thanks, Keri!


Joy said...

Yes, Emily is wonderful! Thank you for sharing this wintery poem.

Jane @ said...

Yes - oh, please let this new year be better than the last!

Irene Latham said...

In happy serendipity, I've just been writing a cento! It's kind of like a book-spine poem... taking existing lines and fashioning them into something startling and meaningful. Thank you for sharing, Tabatha! xo

Kay said...

Wow! I've always enjoyed Emily's poems, and now there is more built on and around her poems? More, please! Thank you for sharing this delightful poem. I've already added Turco's book to my TBR list to enjoy later.

Linda B said...

We are fortunate that others examine Emily Dickinson's words and make something new for us to love. Thanks for this Tabatha, I will hope I can find Turco's book. His (her) comment at the end is interesting.

Donna Smith said...

And it's all haiku, after haiku...lovely!

Tara Smith said...

Brrr. I will have to look for Turco's book, too. Thanks for always giving me something to ponder, Tabatha.

Margaret Simon said...

What an art to be able to create verse from someone else's lines. This one is so apt. We are all looking to make a difference in this new year and who can even recall what we were doing this time last year. One thing I like about Facebook is the reminders of where I've been. Thanks for sharing this poem and the book.

Violet Nesdoly said...

Thanks for sharing another of your fascinating finds, Tabatha! I'm curious, does Mr. Turco indicate which lines are from Dickinson? My favorite in the those stanzas is "Oh, arctic February."

Brenda Harsham said...

I do wonder when the birds are silent in winter, what has sealed their voices. Now I know! I wonder which lines are ED and which are Lewis's. They all seamlessly mingle, and I can't guess.

Mary Lee said...

Your leading quote, your choice of poems, Keri's video, Ruth's earthquake remembrance...the universe is telling me to slow down and appreciate the moments that are in my grasp.

Kiesha Shepard said...

Such a great photo to go with the poem, Tabatha! I enjoyed reading this poem very much. Thanks for sharing!

Keri said...

This is one of those poems that reached out and grabbed me, then left me wanting to devour the whole book! What a treasure! As always, your post is a work of thoughtful art. xoxo

Diane Mayr said...

fleeting swiftly by,
better than the one that we
cannot now recall.

I hope 2017 is swift and painless, and that 2016 will be erased from memory. Thanks for sharing this, Tabatha.

Ruth said...


Heidi Mordhorst said...

What a fascinating idea Lewis has had--collaborations across time!

Nows--pay attention now. I keep worrying about tomorrow(s). We humans are planners...