By Corinne Viglietta
Happy National Poetry Month! To celebrate, we share with you a special poem inspired by the poet Claudia Emerson’s visit to our very own Folger Shakespeare Library. It’s a beautiful meditation on the life of an author—not Shakespeare, but Emily Dickinson, whose belongings were on view as part of a special 2012 exhibit.
We thank Martha Harris, a wonderful teacher and friend of the Folger, who happened upon this poem and shared it with us. We hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
After the Emily Dickinson traveling exhibit at the Folger Shakespeare
Library, Washington, D.C., 12 April 2012
I noticed the quick wore off those things …
—EMILY DICKINSON, ON DAGUERREOTYPES
The evening includes a reception, wine
and hors d’oeuvres with the curator, lighthearted
discussion of the various diagnoses,
hypotheses long debated—depression,
lesbianism, grief, agoraphobia,
the kind of anxiety a cat has
about the threshold, and the most recent
theory—epilepsy; that would explain it
all, they say, spasmodic punctuation,
reclusiveness, the shame, everything,
the hour of lead, at last, unlocked.
You can read the rest of Claudia Emerson’s poem at Poetry Daily.
Corinne Viglietta is Assistant Director of Education at the Folger. She has taught English in DC, Maryland, and France.