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Envelope Poems

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  1,030 ratings  ·  161 reviews
Although a very prolific poet—and arguably America’s greatest—Emily Dickinson (1830–1886) published fewer than a dozen of her eighteen hundred poems. Instead, she created at home small handmade books. When, in her later years, she stopped producing these, she was still writing a great deal, and at her death she left behind many poems, drafts, and letters. It is among the m ...more
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 4th 2016 by New Directions
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Feb 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
As an object, this book is absolutely gorgeous. The cover is beautiful, the pages feel luxurious, the photographs feel so special, and it's all put together with incredible care.

The content feels like lucky snooping. Like maybe these were just scrap ideas, things Emily Dickinson didn't care for people to see (some of them are even scratched out), and thoughts she wanted to write but wouldn't fit in anywhere else (on one envelope it simple says "there are those who are shallow intentionally and o
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the 70s when I first learned of Emily Dickinson in my high school American Lit class, a picture of her emerged that is now being superseded, thanks to archivists, researchers and biographers. For too many years I’ve had an image of Emily as a perennial girl, never a woman, with genius of course but not emotions she showed in real life, only displaying them on the page; an image where she submissively sits behind her cross-barred bedroom window when she is not writing, imprisoned almost, perha ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Jan 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Almost like haiku or the poetry of e.e. cummings; a glimpse of raw genius.
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-poetry
As there are
Apartments in our
own Minds that -
we never enter without Apology -
we should respect
the seals of
others -

I'm glad the editors of this volume didn't heed this particularly aphoristic poem. Dickinson in fragmentary form is cryptic, capturing a quality that many future poets would strive for (i.e., Anne Carson). Also interesting is the incredible glimpse into a master poet's creative process—alternative words, phrases crossed out, poems re-written on facing pages. The facsimiles are cl
Cooper Renner
Sep 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Pocket-sized selection from the magisterial complete collection The Gorgeous Nothings. Both books are superb and put virtually all new books of poetry to shame.
Mar 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
A lovely little book.
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, art
A gorgeous little book of small poetry on small things. Highly recommended.
Kaeli Wood
Jun 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I think I might be not smart enough for EmDick because half the time I’m like hmm what
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
I literally had no idea what she was talking about... Her hand writing is hard to read and I think that some mistakes were made when translating. Many of these poems were also incomplete and I believe she left them unpublished for a reason.

There were one or two poems I really liked but other than that this was very confusing... perhaps I was reading them wrong, but I read them in the way I saw most logical and they did not make sense at all.
Mark Fallon
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Twice read, and thrice enjoyed.
Sep 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own, poetry
An absolutely stunning way of reading Dickinson's poetry! Every page has a (smaller) facismile copy of the original letters with a reconstruction on the opposite page (very useful, especially at the beginning, since Dickinson's hand writing is very distinct but difficult to read at first). It's very interesting to see how Dickinson wrote these (snippets of) poems, so if you like Dickinson I'd definitely recommend this (but maybe not as the first thing you ever read of her; they are not really 'c ...more
rebeccca elane (pistachiobooks)
beautiful read, but I feel weird rating what is essentially a collection of first drafts.
Cheyenna Forsee
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
this book is so beautiful i just want to display it forever. tiny gems of dickinson quite literally written on envelopes.
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
but are not all facts dreams as soon as we put them behind us
Oct 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A brief selection from the complete collection of Emily Dickinson's envelope poems, published several years ago in The Gorgeous Nothing. Such a warm, intimate presentation of writings in this small book. Happy to have come across it. ...more
Megan Alyse
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
"There are those/who are shallow/ intentionally/ and only / profound/ by/ accident "

Filled with rare and beautiful poems. A true treat to read.
Lou Last
Apr 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing

Treasures can be found here https://literaryinfrastructures.files...
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
immediately googles “how to have talent”
Larry Smith
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Here is a book almost as rare as its author, Emily Dickinson (1830-1886). Drawn from the “envelope poems” of her final period of writing, the book reproduces full color photo images of those envelopes (both sides) and, for the reader’s sake, offers a light type transcription of her uniquely handwritten poems. It makes available in a less expensive format select poems from Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope Poems (2013) by the same editors Jen Bervin and Marta Werner and produced by Cr ...more
Amanda Butler
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I found this book while on a random trip to the bookstore. I entered with no intention of buying anything, and left with a treasure.

Emily Dickinson has always been my favorite poet. Her rhythm and imagery captured my soul since I read her work as a child. I have her complete collection poems as well as her letters on my bookshelf. One of my favorite memories involves touring her house in Amherst, visiting her grave, and leaving a note on her gravestone. When I first started writing poetry, I wa
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"Look back on Time
with Kindly Eyes
He doubtless did his best"

This book is filled with the photos of original papers, in Dickinson's own hand. All on the backs or insides of envelopes to the family. Each envelope is reproduced, and then copied exactly, to the placement of the words, dashes and other punctuation. You can read her words in her hand, and also her words in print, which is the way we have read forever.

These appear to be quick sketches...rough drafts, word play. They're fragment of thou
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Contained within this beautifully published book are full-color facsimiles of some of Emily Dickinson's later poems, notes, and other writing. As the title suggests, these were all written on the unused space of envelopes. On one page, is the reproduction of the article itself, with her own handwriting/strikeouts/edits and on the other, the writing has been transcribed by the Dickinson scholars Jen Bervin and Marta Werner. As Emily Dickinson's handwriting is difficult to read, these transcriptio ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
These are, as Dickinson writes in this lovely and fascinating collection of poems, ideas, revisions, "gorgeous nothings." This little book is such a delight for Dickinson readers of all kinds. So glad I have read it and to have it for my collection. Dickinson was such a great mind that continues to be an influence on writers. I love, also, the photos of the actual envelopes with Dickinson's writings on them. This really is such a special book! ...more
Emily Bragg
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
a gift from my mom - lovely printing, and fascinating how clearly you can see the flow of editing. I don't think I could have read the original handwriting of any of these. (the original is next to a easy to read font, spatially accurate version for each snippet) ...more
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: poetry, mlitt-2018
Beautiful. The book is beautifully bound and scans of the envelope poems are included throughout with the transcriptions in print so they're easier to read. The reading though felt super rough, scribbles, almost like they weren't meant to get published. A 'no thank you' from me sis. ...more
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm just always in awe of Emily Dickinson ...more
Apr 30, 2020 added it
You can read them here: https://literaryinfrastructures.files...

In this short Life
that only lasts an hour
How much – how little –
is within our power


Look back on Time
with kindly Eyes –
He doubtless did his best –
How softly sinks
his trembling Sun
in Human Nature’s West –


One note from
One Bird
is better than
a million words
A scabbard has – needs
but one sword
May 31, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2020
Through what transports of
Patience I reached the stolid
Bliss to breathe my
Blank without thee
Arrest me this and this —
By that bleak
I won as near as this
Thy privilege of dying
Abbreviate me this
Remit me this and this

gaze for which
I cease to live

Afternoon and the
West and the gorgeous nothings
which compose the sunset
keep their high

Clogged only with
Music, like the
Wheels of

Apr 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry
Anyone who is a fan of Dickinson's work would enjoy this book. I think getting to see the person's handwritten notes from long ago is a real thrill.

Not well-versed in poetry, though, I wasn't sure how exactly I was to read some of the snippets and lines of her work as displayed.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
A gorgeous collection of Emily Dickinson at her most experimental. Highly recommend.
4.5 stars
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Emily Dickinson was an American poet who, despite the fact that less than a dozen of her nearly eighteen hundred poems were published during her lifetime, is widely considered one of the most original and influential poets of the 19th century.

Dickinson was born to a successful family with strong community ties, she lived a mostly introverted and reclusive life. After she studied at the Amherst Aca

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