New York: Christine Burgin/New Directions, 2013. 1st Edition. Folio, publisher’s photo-illustrated boards, spine stamped black, gray endpapers, original photo-illustrated dust jacket.
Breathtaking collection of 52 late Dickinson poems drafted on used or unsent envelopes, the first book devoted to full-color, actual-size facsimiles of a specific body of her work: "Can a mark on paper surprise itself at the instant of writing?" (from the preface by Susan Howe). The envelopes were found among Dickinson's papers, and "are as much works of visual as textual art, offering the chance to read into Dickinson's slanting handwriting. Her bubbly loops and long strokes suggest...the odd confidence of one who knows the peculiar joy of refining and performing her own identity on a private stage” (NPR). The book is a collaboration between textual scholar Werner and visual artist Bervin, in which both sides of each envelope are shown against a white background like paintings on a gallery wall, with typed transcriptions placed within drafted outlines of each corresponding envelope. With detailed notes, an essay by Werner, and an ingenious series of visual indexes by Bervin, arranging envelopes by shape, direction, and other attributes. First trade edition, preceded by a limited artists' book edition of 60 copies published by Granary Books (2012). Small bang to bottom edge of lower board and unclipped dust jacket, else fine. Item #520