Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Summer is for Reading Emily Dickinson

Hi Everyone,

I just posted a review over at Kate Brauning’s “The Bookshelf” for a delicious novel entitled Nobody’s Secret.  (Chronicle 2013.) Written by Michaela MacColl, the story stars America’s #1 reclusive poet Emily Dickinson as a lively, driven young girl out to solve a murder (!) about a dapper young fellow she happened to meet.  (No—he was not a snake in the grass sort.)  I really enjoyed reading this book and wanted to share it with you.

Of course reading the novel lead me to reading E.D’s poetry and what can I say but it is a balm for the soul.  An elixir for my word-weary brain, the way she just lays everything out there, so neatly simple, like a well-made bed with a cool, hand-stitched quilt and artfully arranged pillow-shams. One just wants to revel in her word-choice. 

I shall refrain from even trodding the well-worn path of discussing her poems, for I fear the glare of scholars everywhere peering down their noses at my sophomoric attempt to expound upon her poetry’s merits.  Instead, let me offer you a painless link, where you can go and dabble your own feet in her cool stream of thought.

Summer is for reading Emily’s poetry.  Which is your favorite?



  1. Just read the review and left a comment there, Jill. Great review. Definitely I must get that book. I'm a Dickinson fan, and I love mysteries in a historical setting.

    1. Thanks for your comments Elizabeth. And must get that book. It's scrumptious!
      ~Just Jill

  2. I haven't read her extensively, but of the ones I have, it has to be Wild Nights.
    Good review too, it made me want to read the book. When of course I've got through all the rest in my to read pile :)

  3. I,too, will look for the book. I've always loved E.D. My favorite poem of all time is Silver by Walter de la Mare

  4. I just got a copy of Nobody's Secret and hope to get to it soon. It looks great. I like ED's nature poems very much and probably would choose A Narrow Fellow in the Grass as a favorite if I had to choose.

    1. A narrow fellow in the grass
      Occasionally rides;
      You may have met him,--did you not,
      His notice sudden is.

      The grass divides as with a comb,
      A spotted shaft is seen;
      And then it closes at your feet
      And opens further on.

      He likes a boggy acre,
      A floor too cool for corn.
      Yet when a child, and barefoot,
      I more than once, at morn,

      Have passed, I thought, a whip-lash
      Unbraiding in the sun,--
      When, stooping to secure it,
      It wrinkled, and was gone.

      Several of nature's people
      I know, and they know me;
      I feel for them a transport
      Of cordiality;

      But never met this fellow,
      Attended or alone,
      Without a tighter breathing,
      And zero at the bone.

  5. I could pretend I'm so well-versed (HA!) in Dickinson's poetry that I can rattle off the titles of my favorites right off the top of my head. But I won't. Yes, I did enjoy her poetry, but it's been a while (um, like fifty years...) since I've read any of it. Shame on me, huh? Maybe it's time to take another look at her work. And that book, too. Great review!

  6. What a cool idea for a book. I've had reason to investigate her life and poetry a little bit lately, and I do think she was in love with a young man when she was younger. The experience of his death transformed her for the rest of her life.

    I have her complete works and look at it from time to time. There's a little bit of sauciness to her poem, Wild Nights! Which makes one wonder who she was talking about. :)


  7. Wild nights )
    By Emily Dickinson 1830–1886

    Wild nights - Wild nights!
    Were I with thee
    Wild nights should be
    Our luxury!

    Futile - the winds -
    To a Heart in port -
    Done with the Compass -
    Done with the Chart!

    Rowing in Eden -
    Ah - the Sea!
    Might I but moor - tonight -
    In thee!

    1. Is it hot in here, or is it just me?

    2. It could be you. You are rather well known for your hot-flashes, you know.
      ~Just Jill

  8. I'll have to check out that link sometime. I could use some balm for the soul!

    The book sounds very interesting. I wonder if Emily Dickinson writes poetry in that novel as well.


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