Portfolio > Paintings

my entry to Marin MOCA
wooden drawer, acrylic on wood canvas, fascicles loose and attached
15 1/2" wide x 16" h x 9" deep

The work was created for Marin MOCA's Altered Book and Book Arts Exhibition, April and May 2015. Emily Dickinson wrote her poetry in the bedroom of her home. She discussed her work in letters, sent a few to friends, and perhaps a dozen or so poems were published in her lifetime. There is some strong evidence that she did not seek traditional publication: “If fame belonged to me, I could not escape her – if she did not, the longest day would pass me on the chase – My Barefoot-Rank is better—“ (letter to T.W. Higginson, June 1862).

When Dickinson died, her sister found 40 bound packets, known to scholars now as “fascicles,” roughly 5” x 8,” consisting of folded leaves of paper tied together with string, and several poems were hand-copied and bound into each fascicle. In the very first editing, the fascicles were all disbound. One of the transcribers ripped out passages in the poems and letters, and inked over one full poem. Other editors replaced words, changed the appearance on the page of poems, and created “normal” punctuation, capitalization, and spelling. Even the most well-intentioned scholars and editors cannot un-alter Emily Dickinson’s life and work. But, we do have the appearance of her poems on the manuscript pages. And these loose fascicles -- large reproductions of her handwriting -- refer back to her fascicles to demonstrate the movement of Emily Dickinson’s hand over the page.