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Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room

4.65 of 5 stars 4.65  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  19 reviews
"Agodon's book is a bright, funny, touching meditation on loss, love, and the power of words. Her genius is in the interweaving of God and Vodka, bees and bras, astronomy and astrology, quotes from Einstein and Dickinson, a world in which gossip rags in checkout lines and Neruda hum in the writer's mind with equal intensity."—Jeannine Hall Gailey

"These are poems of remarka
Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 19th 2010 by White Pine Press (first published October 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Gorgeous, witty, accurate. It only took me two sittings to finish the entire book--enjoyed every single poem. It's all there: science, relationships, birds, historic figures, prayers, Xanax. The anagram poems are charming. Everything is sprinkled with a touch of the surreal, or a dose of juxtaposition.

I love that these poems are not shallow; they're not trite observations about wild animals or walks in the woods. They're not just therapeutic, nor are they unnecessarily complex.

Instead, Agodon w
Sandy Longhorn
The poems in this collection are brave and brazen, addressing love and loss, questioning God and mortals alike, mixing Dickinson, Neruda, Einstein, and Alice from Wonderland with the deftness of a practiced mixologist. Here we have a speaker adrift in a world that often feels directionless, a speaker who desires nothing more than connection and yet finds that connection difficult because of the very fact that she is a poet: "the broken ones become artists," says the father in "Letter to a Past L ...more
In her second full length collection, Kelli Russell Agodon tackles the big themes in poetry (and life): grief, love, death, identity. Yet, she does so with such lyrical language that the reader never feels like she is actually reading about the popular themes. There's humor in these poems, as well as truth, and as a reader, I found myself going back and re-reading my favorites again and again. My favorite work is "Discovering the Tasmanian Devil is my Life Coach" where the narrator explains: "Al ...more
Judith Shadford
This is an amazing collection of poems. I loved the humor--Victoria's Secret and black holes! I loved the anagrammatical nature of her use of words, even when that is not the essence of the particular poem. Primarily, I am stunned at her vulnerability, Kelli's willingness to reveal her gossamer-thin sensibilities. In her Letter to Walt Whitman (who knew?) she refers to "your secret world of paper insects/still hanging by threads." The collection is that delicate, that nuanced. Best to read weari ...more
Gosh, just the anagram poems give this one the "amazing" status in my book. The part of poetry that is wordplay, in this case dazzling wordplay, sometimes gets set aside. Here, I get to open my eyes wide at it, and then squint a bit, as Emily would advise, at the dazzling! I am glad to have read this one in celebration of Emily Dickinson's birthday (and to have blogged about it a bit!). Example:

There's real fun in funeral,
and in the pearly gates--the pages relate.

Very serious topics here, too, n
Martha Silano
I've been a fan of Kelli Russell Agodon's poetry since her debut collection Small Knots appeared in 2004, but this book is definitely my favorite. There are poems in this collection that will make you laugh, such as "Coming Up Next: How Killer Blue Irises Spread" and "In the 70s, I Confused Macrame and Macabre," and, "What the Universe Makes of Lingerie" (three of my personal favorites), but the cool thing about Agodon's work is how often pain/sadness and humor/joy appear side by side, just as t ...more
Tina Schumann
Stayed home sick one day last week and read the whole book straight through. Sometimes I think that is the most satisfying way to read a book of poems. I really got to know and feel for this vulnerable, wickedly wise voice that is unafraid to expose her deepest fears and biggest questions about being human through the prism of one particular life. You feel as though you have been let in to someone's house when they are not home and allowed to roam each room and examine the objects in detail, rum ...more
Agodon is a poet who is masterful with language and word-play. She delves into the world of the here-and-now with skill and honesty, not afraid to tackle such topics as marriage, spirituality, depression and self-discovery in a way that invites the reader in with sensitive intimacy. She leaves no constellation untouched, falls "in love with your free verse of skin," and "presses on" through a landscape that is rich and vibrant, dark and tantalizing. Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room is a boo ...more
Nov 22, 2010 Rachel added it
Kelli Agodon's playful way of musing on life, relationship, art, and self through engagement with words, right down to their component letters is highly original. The poems have a breezy, dancing quality that evokes the more buoyant moments in Dickinson, justifying the title, and the word "letters" is apt for this book, as its attention on the sounds and layered meanings of language form a vital part of its subject matter. A great read, and a thought-provoking collection.
Agodon's book is a bright, funny, touching meditation on loss, love, and the power of words. Her genius is in the interweaving of God and Vodka, bees and bras, astronomy and astrology, quotes from Einstein and Dickinson, a world in which gossip rags in checkout lines and Neruda hum in the writer's mind with equal intensity.
Spunky and exhilarating. Some terrific lists that lead to unexpected outcomes. Some poems capture the flavor of the northwest. A pleasure through and through.
Jessica Star
Best poetry book for 2010. Write in your vote for it at the Goodreads Choice Awards!
January O'Neil
A terrific second book of poems by Kelli Russell Agodon.
The poems are as lovely as the woman who wrote them.
Monica Carter
A book of poems I want to give to everyone.
I loved this book! What a wonderful discovery!
Oct 24, 2014 nancy added it
Shelves: 2014, poetry
I plucked this from the library, because it had the word Emily Dickinson. I will read anything that refers to Emily Dickinson. I really like that she addressed these poems to those that write letters to the world.
Isla McKetta
Poems so vivid and rich I couldn't decide whether to stop and savor each one or rush gluttonously through the whole collection. A definite re-read.
Some beautiful poems, some clever word play, some lovely imagery.
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Kelli Russell Agodon is a prize-winning poet, writer, and editor from the Northwest.

She is the author of Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room (White Pine Press, 2010), Winner of the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Prize in Poetry and a Finalist for the Washington State Book Award. She is also the author of Small Knots (2004) and the chapbook, Geography (2003). She co-edited the first eBook an
More about Kelli Russell Agodon...
Small Knots Hourglass Museum Fire On Her Tongue: an eBook Anthology of Contemporary Women's Poetry The Daily Poet: Day-By-Day Prompts For Your Writing Practice Geography

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