I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t know about Emily Dickinson. My mother schooled my sisters and me early in the delights of poetry, and when I was a teenager I became interested in Dickinson’s poems. Sequestered in my room, tapping out who knows what on the typewriter, I even imagined myself a poet. I was, however, destined to become a visual artist, but the desire to pair words and images has always been strong in me.
As I have traveled through my career and arrived in the land of artists’ books, I can now happily involve myself in satisfying that desire. It has indeed been a great pleasure creating these broadsides and spending such a good long time with Emily Dickinson’s words – with every letter of these poems, in fact, as they are printed letterpress using antique type. I chose these particular poems simply because they spoke strongly to me.
I would add, now that you ask (Why Emily Now ?), that my deep and enduring attraction to her work stems from a sense that she feels as I do about the small miracles of nature and being. She enjoys toying with us, sometimes creating puzzles and guessing games, always honing her words into a small but potent force.
Her work is bright, succinct, touching. Small but large, it rings a bell, across time. She is a great, enigmatic American treasure. All of the images that I have used in this work come from my own garden and collections of found objects or photographs that I have taken (aside from the lone, familiar image of Emily); things that I live with; Things that speak to me and that I felt related, to what she expressed somehow.
Her poems no longer sound like 19th century works or this or that or the other, but so surprisingly fresh and contemporary that it’s almost shocking to me.