The Emily Sonnets

The Life of Emily Dickinson

This post is part of Nonfiction Monday
hosted today at Book-Talking
and joins It's Monday!
What are you reading?

(pub.8.29.2012) 40 pages 

A True Tale with A Cherry On Top

A uthor: Jane Yolen
     and Illustrator: Gary Kelley

haracter: Emily Dickinson

O verview from the jacket flap: 

      "She was quiet and fiercely private. She was bold and fiercely creative. And it wasn't until after her death that the world came to know her genius. The Emily Sonnets...tells of the life and poetry of Emily Dickinson, a woman now considered to rank among America's literary giants.
        Yolen's beautiful sonnets and insightful biographical notes spotlight Dickinson's schooling, seclusion, and the slant rhyme for which she became famous. Kelley's captivating artwork portrays the poet's 19th-century Massachusetts world, including her family, faith, and fears.
        Together, words and images make for an inimitable introduction to the woman in the white dress, the recluse known as 'The Myth,' the poet who redefined poetry."

T antalizing taste: 

       "Emily's Dog (Emily Speaks)

         A shaggy ally, he often walked
         Beside me to the other house.
         And while I sat a spell and talked,
         He lay as still as a mouse -
         Though a thousand times the size.
         When we marched back across the lawn
         He could have chased the butterflies
         Or raced a squirrel, and then been gone.

          But never once he left my side,
          Companioning with hulking grace.
          Ignoring jays - their loud deride -
          He turned up a devoted face
          As true to me as sun that spills
          Its farewell on the silent hills."
and something more: To honor Women's History Month, I chose another picture book featuring Emily Dickinson, but aimed at an older age group. (My previous post featured Emily and Carlo, her Newfoundland.)
        In her Author's Note, Jane Yolen discusses the background and format of The Emily Sonnets: "These poems, written over a period of seven years, spring from my love of the poet Emily Dickinson. I have always called her my neighbor, though we lived two towns and slightly more than fifty years apart. I have visited her house ...many times... In this book of sonnets about Emily's life, I have given each poem a title and an indication as to the speaker... I have tried to tell the truth of her life, but as Emily said: 'Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -/ Success in Circuit lies ..."
        I liked Jane Yolen's choice of a final poem in the book, explained by a note: "Only a few people - mostly family and friends - ever read a poem by Emily Dickinson before she died in 1886...Emily's relatively short life was defined largely by short poems [and the current number of known poems is 1,789]. And so I end not with a sonnet but with a short poem about her:

        Emily Dickinson stayed at home -
        And each day wrote a little poem.
        A little poem each day turns out
        To be a lot to write about."


Anastasia Suen said...

Thanks for sharing a Nonfiction Monday post this week, Jeanne!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Thanks for hosting Nonfiction Monday this week, Anastasia, and for organizing the group!

Jen said...

This seems like such an interesting book. I love great non-fiction, especially biographies about unknown or little known people. Thanks for sharing!

Jeanne Walker Harvey said...

Hi Jen! Thanks for stopping by and checking out the picture book biography of Emily Dickinson.

Books4Learning said...

Thank you for sharing this book. As a literature teacher I have slowly begun to appreciate her, but still not a full fan. I think this book might help me understand and appreciate her more.