I have been revisiting a lot of Emily Dickinson’s poems lately. I love reading Dickinson, especially the giant editions of The Complete poems. There are some I understand and enjoy right away; others I save for a gripping moment of discovery in the future. As she herself wrote:
The Riddle we can guess/We speedily despise–/Not anything is stale so long/As Yesterday’s surprise (Number 1222, c.1870)
Having received a copy of The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson from a very good friend, and not having very much work after being out of town, I had much to mull over. Feeling somewhat greedy for answers to some of Dickinson’s more obscure poems, I turned to some books about her I had picked up years ago at the Chicago Public Library discard sale. Promising though the content seemed, the bindings were a complete turnoff. They were so atrocious it was distracting! I think you can see where this story is going. I told my neighbor about how I had to rebind a book in order to properly read it, and she said, “Wow, you really are in the right profession.” As I write this post on Labor Day, thinking about the nature of work and so on, it is nice to have that affirmation.
Following are some before and after pictures of the book, and the in- between stage as well.
The old cover– that weird old cellophane/ plasticky stuff. It made noise when I opened it!
The new cover, using Dickinson’s silhouette as a sixteen- year- old inlaid into the cover boards with gray leather.
Some paste paper I happened to have around…
Ahh, now I can read it and finally unlock the answers to all of Dickinson’s mysterious riddles.
Although I generally do not recommend mixing fine books and fresh figs, it was pretty satisfying just this one time.