Emily Dickinson Cento


Today I flipped through a pocket-sized Dickinson book and decided to put some lines together with the petals from a dying bouquet.

Dickinson was one of my first poetry loves. I found her in a bin of children’s poetry books at my elementary school. It was a simple, illustrated book; I never forgot it (but I did forget the name).

While I did not come across explicit mention of Dickinson, as an undergrad research assistant I worked on transcribing boxes of letters from her correspondent Thomas Wentworth Higginson. I always hoped to see her name written out.

Last summer, I took a class on Dickinson taught by Mary Ann Samyn, and my final project involved designing dresses based on her poetry, along with a write-up of how I interacted with the poems. This was probably the most enjoyable project I’ve ever done. I used flowers and scrap materials to construct the dresses in a collage-style look book. I also used a prompt to write on the thread Emily Dickinson might’ve used to bind her fascicle. I imagined it as silver. If you’re looking for a comprehensive edition of Dickinson’s work: Christine Miller’s Emily Dickinson’s Poems: As She Preserved Them was a pleasure to go through, and I’d recommend it to anyone with an interest in her poetry. A non-required reading I’d also recommend is Susan Howe’s My Emily Dickinson.

I hope to visit Amherst, one day. I think this article does a good job of encapsulating fascination with Emily Dickinson: https://www.kenyonreview.org/2015/06/my-my-emily-dickinson/

I’m also including some other links for viewing / reading:

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