Emily Dickinson Installation by Donna Ruff

This past Sunday, there was the lively AHA fair in the Railyard. I found the art booths to be of more interest than the usual run of the mill thing.
I was very intrigued by Donna Ruff’s homage to Emily Dickinson.

The artist says:
The life of the poet Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) has been examined and theorized upon by scores of scholars. For decades after her death, the public and critical perception of Dickinson was tied to an image of her as a reclusive poet, unwilling to publish her poems conventionally, writing her poems in isolation. However, late twentieth-century scholars have proven that Dickinson circulated her manuscripts in a number of venues, including letters and hand-made books. Still, fewer than a dozen of her almost 1800 poems were published widely during her lifetime.
Her unconventional use of language, punctuation, and capitalization make her poems immediate, as if the words are rushing out in spurts. She was also a prolific letter writer, and since she rarely left her home in Amherst, her subjects were domesticity and the nature she experienced around her. Her poems express love and passion, grief, uncertainty, impatience, wonder.
I have chosen some of my favorite bits from her poems to write in what we called “invisible ink” as children- lemon juice, when heated with an iron, is revealed on the page as a burn. I honor the domesticity of Dickinson’s quiet life (although she would most certainly have not ironed herself) and slowly bring the words to the paper’s surface, merging prose and poem in repetitive movement.
Donna Ruff

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