Staten Island OutLoud and NYSAI have partnered together in honor of Emily Dickinson, to celebrate her life and work. Staten Islanders are invited to submit Emily Dickinson poems or lines of poetry to them in creative ways, on junk mail.
In the spirit of recycling, reducing waste, and finding creative ways to reduce our carbon footprint, this latest event is all of these combined, along with celebrating the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson. Although she only had a small number of her poems published during her life, she was a prolific writer, having actually written thousands of poems. She never received the honors she deserved during her life, but has inspired many with her poetry after her death.
While she was alive, she would write her poems on pieces of paper she found, often distributing the poetry by mail. In her time, there was not as much paper, and there was no such thing as junk mail. To honor her creative spirit, and her use of found paper to send her poems to others, NYSAI has chosen to invite participants to submit their own creative pieces on junk mail, that feature her poetry or quotes. These pieces of junk mail with Emily Dickinson poetry should be submitted to the NYSAI at several drop-off locations, including the Stapleton Library, the St. George Library, the Greenbelt Nature Center, and the Greenbelt Nature Center.
At those locations, you will find a little box with a sign on it, such as the one in the photo below. There, you drop your junk mail art pieces, with your own creativity interspersed with ED’s poems. Thereafter, you can send an email to [email protected] with your name and mailing address. You and other lucky Staten Islanders will then receive these pieces of found paper with Emily Dickinson’s poetry on them. This is a fun way to be creative and recycle at the same time.
Emily Dickinson has become known as one of the most prolific poets of her time, and possibly in all of history. She gained little recognition during her life, but after her death, her younger sister found her nearly 1,800 poems, and they were then published. She then became known in the poetry world and in the world at large, and she has since become regarded as one of the most important figures in American poetry.
She lived much of her life in seclusion, even refusing to leave her bedroom later in life. Most of her time was spent corresponding with friends through writing, and writing her poems. Her paternal grandfather was one of the founders of Amherst College in Massachusetts, where Emily studied for seven years in her youth. Emily’s father was a lawyer, and held several local political positions.
Emily experienced several tragic losses of friends in her younger years, including the principal of Amherst Academy, and a friend of the family who had great confidence in her abilities as a poet. As a result, many of her poems are dark and melancholic, exploring various aspects of death and immortality.
It was somewhat rare in the Vicrtorian time of Emily Dickinson for a woman to attend school, and the Amherst Academy where she attended had only a few years before begun admitting girls. She was influenced by the writing of William Wordsworth and Ralph Waldo Emerson. She also had several close relationships, including that between her brother and herself, and his wife, Susan. These relationships sustained her, and may have helped her access the deep well of creativity within herself that she expressed so beautifully in her writings.
The free event organized by NYSAI and Staten Island OutLoud is a great way to express your own creativity, and be inspired by Emily Dickinson’s incredibly creative and unique life.