Interviews with the Famously Departed
Emily Dickinson Speaks
Hey Readers, Where’d you go? Emily Dickinson’s been waiting over a hundred years just to join our series.
Emily Dickinson was born on December 10, 1830 in Amherst, Massachusetts. Known for retiring to her family house almost before she could spell Massachusetts and for wearing different shades of white, this Belle lived and wrote poetry there until she died on May 15, 1886.
So Emily, you wrote a lot about love, death and immortality. How does it feel to be dead and immortal? Is there romance where you are?
Dickinson: The Sweeping up the heart
And putting love away
We shall not want to use again
You were known as something of a recluse. So how about some thoughts on today’s seekers of fame and fortune.
Dancing with the Stars?
Dickinson: For each ecstatic instant
We must an anguish pay
In keen and quivering ration
To the ecstasy.
For each ecstatic instant
Going on Talk Shows?
Dickinson: How dreary – to be – somebody!
How public – like a frog
To tell your name – the livelong June
To an admiring bog!
I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Let’s try some questions about writing. We’ll start with opinion columns. Have you had a chance to look at online publications?
Dickinson: There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away
Nor any coursers like a page of prancing Poetry.
There is no frigate like a book
Trying to get a publisher for one’s manuscript?
Dickinson: The possible’s slow fuse is lit by the Imagination.
The gleam of an heroic act
Yeah but it took an afterlife for you to get published?
Dickinson: A word is dead when it is said, some say.
I say it just begins to live that day.
A word is dead
So in other words?
Dickinson: He ate and drank the precious Words
His Spirit grew robust
He knew no more that he was poor
Nor that his frame was Dust.
He ate and drank the precious words
Let’s try some advice issues. Advice for malpractice lawyers?
Dickinson: Surgeons must be very careful.
When they take the knife!
Underneath their fine incisions,
Stirs the Culprit – Life!
Surgeons must be very careful
Advice to stockbrokers?
Dickinson: Finite to fail
But infinite to venture.
Finite to fail, but infinite to venture
Let’s get back to men. You’re from the home of the Patriots, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. What about the missing college basketball?
Dickinson: A little Madness in the Spring
Is wholesome even for the King.
A little Madness in the Spring
What do you think of the NFL lockout?
Dickinson: To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee
One clover, and a bee. And revery.
The revery alone will do.
If bees are few.
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, Collected Poems
Dickinson: If I can stop one heart from breaking
I shall not live in vain.
If I can stop one heart from breaking
Any luck with men in the afterlife?
Dickinson: Well, there’s a lot of men I don’t talk to. Women too. That Charlotte Bronte, always putting on Eyres. But it was good to finally meet Emerson and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Melville takes himself too seriously and Hawthorne gabbles about gables too much. But still there’s a few I might think about dating in millennium or two. (fictional reply)
Dickinson: Anger as soon as fed is dead
‘Tis starving makes it fat
Mine enemy is growing old
Any thoughts on global warming?
Dickinson: How strange that nature does not knock
And yet does not intrude.
Letter. About 1877. Mrs. James S. Cooper
Finally, a little perspective for the living?
Dickinson: To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.
Letters. Late 1872. T.W. Higginson
Dickinson poems are reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from the following volumes: The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Thomas H. Johnson, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College; The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition, Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press Copyright © 1998 by the Fellows of Harvard College; The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Reading Edition, Ralph W. Franklin, ed. Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Lines from letters by Emily Dickinson Reprinted by permission of the publication from THELETTERS OF EMILY DICKINSON, Thomas H. Johnson, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1958, 1986, by the President and Fellows of Harvard College; 1914, 1924, 1932, 1942 by Martha Dickinson Bianchi; 1952 by Alfred Leete Hampson; 1960 by Mary. L. Hampson
Joe practiced law in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, for 14 years and designed large scale databases for AT&T for five years. He currently works for NextLevel Web Strategies, a legal marketing firm based in Princeton, NJ. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, received his J.D. from George Washington Law School and he has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from Drexel University.
Joe’s book, Philadelphia Originals, was released for publication by Schiffer Publishing in 2009. The book shows that the unique styles (how Philadelphians paint, sing, practice law, tell a joke, cook) of Philadelphia’s most notable professions can be traced back to the perfect complement of the spiritual William Penn and the practical Benjamin Franklin.
His second project. Philadelphia Before You Were Born, is a study of the last time Philadelphia newspapers used artists for all their illustrations. It was published in 2011.
Joe’s many other published writings include a humorous look at book clubs for the Bucks County Writer and the literary stages of a baseball season for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He also writes the Interviews with the Famously Departed Column for the Wild River Review.
Joe Glantz in this Edition
Dick Perez: Sports Artist for the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Philadelphia Phillies
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