Hey, fickle readers! Wow, what a crazy couple of weeks it’s been. My lupus Pity Spoons are just about gone today because of all the rushing about, hanging out with Little Fickle’s grandparents, getting Little Fickle ready for first grade (!!!), and doing off-line writing (some of which is for other people and not just my own insane drive for recognition! More on this later).
Since this is definitely going to be a low-energy day, I thought I’d ease into the blogging with a new segment I like to call “That’s News to ME!” See, since I’m an old coot, and since for the past ten years I’ve either been parenting or walking around with my head in the Renaissance, I tend to have all these Great! New! Discoveries! about news items that are, in fact, not really news. Often, these stories broke several years ago, but since they’re news to me, and since this blog is all about the weird quirks of my brain, I thought I’d take a moment to share anyway. Anyone who wants to exercise his or her fickleness, feel free to skip anything you’ve already heard forty billion times.
Today’s news to me has to do with the poetry world. First, a breathtaking find that happened in 2012 but popped up on my radar only days ago: a daguerreotype that may represent the second known photographic image of Emily Dickinson. This picture would have been taken when Dickinson was in her mid-twenties and already embarking on the literary project that would result in her collection of almost 800 poems (nearly all of which were discovered after her death, by the way). The only authenticated image we have of her was taken when she was a teenager, and according to the article at the link, one scholar has done research on family members who did not think that early picture looked much like her. Another exciting detail about this find is that Dickinson is posing with another woman, one who may have been someone the poet was in love with. When I find the time (hah!), I fully intend to hunt down info on this second woman. And if you have the time, check out the daguerreotype at the link. It’s not every day you get a new window onto a familiar author’s life.
Second, following the recent incident in which a nine-year-old girl accidentally shot an instructor at a shooting range in Arizona, poet Gregory Orr published an article in the New York Times on his own experience shooting and killing his younger brother in a hunting accident. Orr’s piece is an excellent exploration both of his own feelings in the aftermath of his brother’s death and of what that 9-year-old must be thinking and feeling as she comes to terms with her part in the end of another human being. I’m not familiar with Orr’s work, so I had no idea he’d lived through such a traumatic event. My heart goes out to him.
And finally: the LA Times just published an article on a new poetry feature from Rattle called Poets Respond. Beginning in June of this year, Rattle has been posting poems written in the past week about the news of the past week, with an eye to making poetry relevant to current events and timed to the speed at which news barrels our way in the age of the Internet. I haven’t gotten a chance to look over the web site yet, but I would like to say cheers to Timothy Green and the Rattle editorial staff for the great idea and the wonderful opportunity to open up poetry to different audiences. Nice work, Rattle!