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The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope-Poems


October 13, 2012

 Emily Dickinson's Envelope-Poems (Granary Books 2012). Emily Dickinson manuscript image A 193/194 courtesy of Amherst College Library Archives & Special Collections and The Houghton Library, Harvard University.From The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope-Poems (Granary Books 2012). Emily Dickinson manuscript image A 193/194 courtesy of Amherst College Library Archives & Special Collections and The Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Jen Bervin and Marta Werner present text and images from their new edition,The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope-Poems (Granary Books 2012). A quiet masterpiece— equal parts artist book, portfolio, and act of archival scholarship—this new publication features nearly fifty full-color prints of manuscripts by Emily Dickinson, many of which are published for the first time here in facsimile. Steve Clay, publisher of Granary Books, will interview Bervin and Werner on the edition and related Dickinson and Granary Books projects, followed by a hands-on opportunity for the audience to explore the edition.

Jen Bervin's work brings together text and textile in a practice that encompasses poetry, archival research, artist books, and large-scale art works. Her books include The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson's Envelope-Poems by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner (2012), The Dickinson Composites (2010), and The Desert (2008) from Granary Books, and Nets (2004) from UDP. Current and upcoming exhibitions include "Postscript: Writing After Conceptual Art" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver, and "HELP/LESS" at Printed Matter in New York. Bervin curated the New York exhibition, "Emily Dickinson at Poets House: Manuscripts from the Donald and Patricia Oresman Collection"—a rare selection of the poet Emily Dickinson's original manuscripts. For more, see

Marta Werner is professor of English at D’Youville College (Buffalo, NY), where she teaches American literature, poetry and poetics, critical theory, and writing. She is the author/editor of Emily Dickinson’s Open Folios: Scenes of Reading, Surfaces of Writing (U of Michigan P, 1995), Radical Scatters: An Electronic Archive of Emily Dickinson’s Late Fragments and Related Texts (U of Michigan P, 1999; U of Nebraska / Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, 2010), Ordinary Mysteries: The Common Journal of Nathaniel and Sophia Hawthorne (co-edited with Nicholas Lawrence, American Philosophical Society P, 2006), Hannah Weiner: The Book of Revelations (Jacket2, 2011); and, most recently, with Jen Bervin, The Gorgeous Nothings (Granary Books, 2012). Werner was awarded both the Bowers Prize and the JoAnn Boydson Prize for her work as a textual scholar. She has also served as a member and co-chair for the MLA’s Committee on Scholarly Editions, and on the Executive Board for the Society for Textual Scholarship.  Recently, Werner accepted an appointment to the Advisory Board for the Houghton Library’s “digital Dickinson.” She is currently working on a project that concerns connections among Dickinson’s “bird” poems, Cordelia Stanwood’s field notebooks, and Lorine Niedecker’s eco-poetics.

Steve Clay is a curator, editor, archivist and publisher of Granary Books. Granary publishes small edition collaborative books with poets and artists and deals in literary and art archives and libraries from the sixties, seventies and eighties. He is the co-author of "A Secret Location on the Lower East Side: Adventures in Writing 1960-1980" and co-editor of "A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections on the Book & Writing." He lives with his family in New York City.

This event is co-presented by the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, and the Rare Book Division.


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