NO, NO, NO – not THAT “F-word.” A different “F-word.” But I’ll get to that later – perhaps in Part 2 of this post? For now, dear reader, read on about the event.
I arrived in the Capitol Hill area of Washington with little time to spare, so I had a quick dinner at the nearby Santa Rosa Taqueria. The restaurant’s Happy Hour special included chips and queso – and TWO margaritas. Yes, I was travelling alone, but what’s a poet to do? TWO margaritas.
Pictured at the right: The Happy Hour special at the Santa Rosa Taqueria included TWO margaritas!
“The Soul achieves — Herself (or “Himself, in my case) — To drink” ~ Emily Dickinson
I made it to the Folger Shakespeare Library with a little time to spare, and when I took my seat I was a bit perplexed by the set up on the stage – more specifically, by the information on the initial slide projected on the screen:
“Emily Dickinson’s 132 Birthday Tribute.”
I wondered why the screen said “132 Birthday Tribute,” when December 10, 2018, marked Emily Dickinson’s 188th birthday.
Pictured at the left: My somewhat-blurry picture of the opening slide welcoming the audience to "Emily Dickinson's 132 Birthday Tribute."
Had the Folger Shakespeare Library been around that long? Was this the library’s 132nd tribute celebrating Emily Dickinson’s birth? No. I googled-search information about the library, and it was built in the 1930s.
After some additional sleuthing I realized that whoever made the slide based the calculation of Dickinson’s age on the year of her death, 1886: 2018 – 1886 = 132.
“We turn not older with year, but newer every day.” ~ Emily Dickinson.
On December 10, 2018, Emily Dickinson turned 188 years new: 2018 – 1830 (the year of her birth) = 188.
The main event for the evening included presentations by Martha Nell Smith, a founding board member and current president of the Emily Dickinson International Society (EDIS), and Jan Bervin, an editor of The Gorgeous Nothings, a full-color facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson's manuscripts as she wrote it on scraps of paper and torn envelopes.
Bervin spoke first and presented information on the work of Jay Leyda, a filmmaker and film historian who is also noted for his work on documenting the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson.
Bervin showed slides of the original letters between Leyda and Theodora Ward and Thomas. H. Johnson (editors of The Letters of Emily Dickinson, the three volume edition published by the Belknap Press of Harvard University in 1958), Millicent Todd Bingham (daughter of David Peck Todd and Mabel Loomis Todd), Mary Landis Hampson (the last surviving resident at the Evergreens, the home of Austin Dickinson and his family), and more.
“This is a nasty business,” she said. “But there it is.”
No, no, no – not THAT “F-word.”
But I’ll get to that next time! Watch for Part 2 of this post, coming soon!