Daily Archives: April 10, 2012

If We Knew How Deep the Crocus Lay

Indeed, this world is short, and I wish, until I tremble, to touch the ones I love before the hills are red — are gray — are white — are ‘born again’! If we knew how deep the crocus lay, we never should let her go. Still, crocuses stud many mounds whose gardeners till in anguish some tiny, vanished bulb.

Emily in a letter to Dr. and Mrs. J.G. Holland

I have a new item on my wishlist–Franklin’s edition of Emily’s work in variorum. Why isn’t anything cheap? I’m waiting for the UPS man today–to deliver my birthday present–Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium. I would also love to have the manuscripts of her poems, but that will have to wait, too. And the letters? Don’t get me started! I want it all.

Harvard library did get back to me, and they will not issue a guest pin to view the manuscripts of poems and letters online. Only students, faculty members, and “researchers.” I wonder what constitutes a “researcher” in their minds.

I have a problem with this policy: Emily Dickinson’s poems and letters belong to all of us. I assume they were donated to the Harvard Library in order that they could be preserved, protected and available to students and lovers of ED’s work. We have a hand full of national poets and writers here in the U.S who really represent our unique American culture–isn’t it in all our interest to make their work available to everyone? Since it’s digital now, it wouldn’t harm the originals. They have made her Herbarium available; I hope they decide to open up the poetry and letters as well.

The New York Public Library is spending a million dollars to convert their archive holdings to a digital format so that they can be viewed by ALL. I realize they’re a public library, but I think it would benefit the institution and, certainly, Emily Dickinson studies around the world to follow suit.

If there’s another reason for holding them back, I would like to know. I plan to write the museum and ask directly.

My Herbarium did arrive. It’s an amazing book. I’ll share pictures in coming posts.