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poem

The Gorgeous Nothings

The Gorgeous Nothings

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But are not

all facts dreams

as soon as

we put

them behind

us.

Most of the books we sell are by living authors, but we do have a couple literary legends above the records and between the bottles of red and white wine lining our shelves (yes, we sell wine now!). 

"'The Gorgeous Nothings' — the first full-color facsimile edition of Emily Dickinson’s manuscripts ever to appear — is a deluxe edition of her late writings, presenting this crucially important, experimental late work exactly as she wrote it on scraps of envelopes."

Released in 2013 by New Directions Press, the book consists of photographs of Dickinson's late poems with typed versions for accessible reading on the opposite pages.

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I cannot recommend this work enough. It is arguably the most beautiful book we carry. The writing in it is luminous. The facsimiles of Dickinson's poems on weathered envelopes are wonderful. 

From the Introduction by Jen Bervin:

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Emily Dickinson, one of the greatest American poets, wrote approximately 1,800 distinct poems within 2,357 poem drafts and at least 1,150 letters and prose fragmentsa total of 3,507 pieces before her death at the age of fifty-five. On the triangular flap of the envelope seal A 252, we find this fleeting message inscribed in lines winnowing down to a single word at the tip: "In this short Life | that only [merely] lasts an hour | How much how | little is | within our | power."

Babette

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The poems comprising Babette by Sara Deniz Akant (Rescue Press), are haunted, paradoxical, and beyond time. Who is Babette exactly? According to an interview with the Heavy Feather Review, Akant said that Babette is a "necessary nucleus" of all that is evil about space and time, along with being a "sort of rep for the multiple self." 

Encountering Babette can feel a little jarring at first. But like any new experience, patience yields rewards. In this case, Akant's work feels very ethereal and places she takes the reader at the edges of space and time are unlike anything I've read before.

Maggie Nelson writes, "Let me tell you some things about Babette. It doesn't sound like anything else... It is a deeply weird, expert emissary from a world already fully formed."

Let's look at a section from "gohst,"

 

the past two years she has been opening the door
and entering the room to make it beautiful.
she had been dusting a perfuming its curtains
so tidying and redecorating was always
changing, getting older, getting better, as they say.

 

The collection feels ancient. Some of the figures are specters and it relies on very old words with unfamiliar definitions. For our readers who are looking for interesting, unique poetry, I would definitely recommend Babette. I found it challenging at first, but after giving it time, Akant's goals became apparent and I was able to appreciate these unearthly poems.