President Obama once said, and MANY people agree, "it is high time we recognize Emmett Lee Dickinson more than the 'Salieri' to Emily Dickinson's 'Mozart.'" No truer words were spoken!
Even in his own day, Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson's third cousin, twice removed -- at her request) received little recognition for his significant contributions to poetry, science, politics, fine arts, and more.
As a matter of fact, Dickinson was only nominated for one award in his lifetime, the Pullet Surprise awarded by the Chamber of Commerce of Mitchell, South Dakota. Dickinson was nominated for his advancements in the study of corn. He did not win.
As a result, he wrote his poem "Funny -- to be a Nominee" (below on the left). His poem inspired third cousin Emily to write her poem "Funny -- to be a Century (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
Funny – to be a Nominee –
And see the Winner – going by –
I – should die of Embarrassment –
But then – I must not start – to Cry –
He – holds his Statue firmly – very –
Now He’s to tell – his sincerity
This Golden Globe of His will be –
With plenty of Publicity –
By Emily Dickinson:
Funny – to be a Century –
And see the People – going by –
I – should die of the Oddity –
But then – I’m not so staid – as He –
He keeps His Secrets safely – very –
Were He to tell – extremely sorry
This Bashful Globe of Ours would be –
So dainty of Publicity –
Emmett Lee Dickinson had been nominated for the Pullet Surprise for his study on the lunar cycle as it related to planting corn. He lost the award to Montgomery “Shoepeg” Wardle for the publication of his best-selling “how to” manual on the evasion of revenue taxation on spiritous and/or intoxicating liquors. To this day, Wardle's guide is the best-selling book in West Virginia, Iowa, Idaho, Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska, and many other states.
Pictured at the right: Montgomery "Shoepeg" Wardle, winner of the Pullet Surprise