Emily’s Brief Rule

Posted in poetry on January 29th, 2013 by admin – Be the first to comment

Sit in your cell as in paradise.

Put the whole world behind you & forget it.

Watch your thoughts like a good fisherman watching for fish.

The path you must follow is in the Psalms—never leave it.

Emily Dickinson following the above Brief Rule of St. Romuald:

Standing with her niece, ED mimed the motion of turning a key in her bedroom door lock.  “It’s just a turn — and freedom, Matty!”

Sweet hours have perished here,
This is a mighty room -
Within its precincts hopes have played
Now shadows in the tomb.*

When writer Emily went downstairs — to bake or cook or garden or tend the plants of her conservatory — she carried her cell with her.

Forgot the world briefly, watched her thoughts like a fisher.

I’m doing that today. Remembering to forget. Watching for what’s visible when I pause –


*Revise! Make it your own poem: ED’s alternate words: timid for mighty; fallow for shadows

Shaggy Dog Story

Posted in poetry on December 9th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

Why do I avoid sitting down to write? Why do I fight something that “feels right” once I am actually doing it?

I turned to Emily Dickinson — my usual source of inspiration and whose 182nd birthday is today — and a look at her process to figure out how she moved past her resistance.

What I found was intriguing. Emily Dickinson transformed her writing barriers into a door to her work.

Emily Dickinson’s first writing strategy arrived in the form of a shaggy dog.

Read more at SheWrites…

Spain and Emily

Posted in poetry on December 2nd, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

Irreverent, bold, brilliant, artistically confident, slyly comic, notorious, sexy, revolutionary art pioneer…

Those words describe Emily Dickinson, the poet who passed away in May 1886,


Spain Rodriguez, the graphic artist who passed away in November 2012.

View some of Emily Dickinson’s writerly / visual work here

View some of Spain’s writerly / visual work here and a film by Susan Stern

Emily Writes Copy

Posted in poetry on November 11th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

“Faith” is a fine invention
When Gentlemen can see —
But Microscopes are prudent
In an Emergency.

It’s a great poem but, per usual, poetry does nothing for the economy

So how about this version penned by Emily Dickinson A.K.A BT Shaw:

“Faith” is a fine invention
For Gentlemen who see!
But Proof will burn — like Phosphorus –
Those Sexting — secretly –
Cell Phone Spy Recon for Blackberry and Android, $198.95

Food-Lit Book Club Pick!

Posted in book news on October 23rd, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

Maid as Muse is the November pick for the 18 Reasons Food Lit Book Club

I’ll make a guest appearance at the Club on Sunday, Nov 11 at 6:30 p.m.

This is a ticketed event so get more details here

We’ll talk:

- Foodie Emily Dickinson

- Emily Dickinson’s biggest family holiday: Thanksgiving

- Best writing & cooking practices (dished up as guest blogger on Four Pounds Flour with Bon Appetit commenting )

- Someone’s in the Kitchen with Emily

Join the Food-Lit Book Club for a look inside:

the poet’s pantry

& kitchen garden

& scullery

Losaida Emily

Posted in book news on October 12th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

credit: Aífe Murray

Emily Dickinson “dwelled in Lower East Side possiblity” this September.

Listen to the recent Tenement Talk - held 9/18/12 at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum – where Aífe Murray & Kathleen Hill discuss the braided lives of Margaret Maher and Emily Dickinson. Co-sponsor: Glucksman Ireland House.

See photos of the world premiere of An Emily Dickinson Sensorium that was part of LitCrawl NYC on 9/15/12. Co-sponsor: Emily Dickinson International Society.

Aífe Murray touched on Emily Dickinson’s baking and writing processes in a guest blog on Four Pounds Flour, the historic gastronomy site & happenings by Sarah Lohman.

Bon Appetit couldn’t resist weighing in!

“Good times,” claimed the Divine Ms. D.

Newest twist on image of Emily Dickinson

Posted in book news on September 17th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

Poet Emily Dickinson & Maid Margaret Maher c.1870

Here’s our take on the brand new photo of Emily Dickinson!

It’s of Emily at about age 28 with her immigrant maid Margaret Maher at about age 30.

Theses two shared the Dickinson kitchen for 17 years. What did they talk about when they made a loaf cake together? What else passed between them as Margaret washed a plate and handed it to Emily to dry?

Find out in Maid as Muse.

Emily Dickinson takes freight elevator

Posted in poetry on September 15th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

There was a reward at the end of the arduous journey by freight elevator.

It was the world premiere of An Emily Dickinson Sense Surround which had a sublime audience of nearly 50 New Yorkers.

With LitCrawl NYC programs in hand, those game literature-seekers braved long white echoing corridors on the way to the 7th floor at 195 Chrystie Street, HQ for ArtStar Gallery arriving to:

A very different take on that literary super-star Emily Dickinson…

Figs and flowers to smell and touch,

Emily’s cake recipes – and poems that resembled recipes – to listen to,

Coconut cake – from Emily Dickinson’s family recipes – to taste,

While listening to the poet’s food-inspired and more guilt-trippy letters,

Downing of old fashioned apple cider as if pressed in Emily’s home kitchen (well, it was hard cider at Emily’s house),

And singing along with songs from her own playbook.

The crew providing the sensate materials to the lit-mad crowd: Marta McDowell, Cindy Dickinson, David Giovacchini, and Aífe Murray.

Thank you co-sponsor Emily Dickinson International Society; LitCrawl NYC volunteers including Suzanne Russo and Sinéad Cloughley; ArtStar.com’s Chrissy Crawford; Documentarians Tom Good and Nadja Good; and the kind support of Michael Radetsky and Lois Giovacchini.

Wow! LitCrawl NYC really popped tonight. Photo proof coming…

Next up NYC: Tenement Talk 9/18 this Tuesday when Emily D. shows up with her maid Margaret Maher. We think it will be Downton Abbey meets The Tenement Museum.

Kitchen Improv Artist – ED x2 NYC

Posted in book news, cooking on August 7th, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

Two Manhattan events spotlight Emily Dickinson’s daily domestic life.

Saturday, Sept 15 at 8:15 p.m.  (ArtStar
195 Chrystie Street #700C) as part of the NYC Lit Crawl:

An Emily Dickinson Sense-Surround

Meet the Poet as Gardener, Baker & Musician on her Homestead Farm. What did Emily Dickinson see, smell, taste, touch, and hear in the act of creation? Experience the poet’s world by listening to music she played & poems she wrote — with aroma, touch & tastes from kitchen and garden.

With horticulturist Marta McDowell, historical musician David Giovacchini, the Emily Dickinson Museum director of interpretation Cindy Dickinson, and writer-baker Aífe Murray. Co-sponsored by the Emily Dickinson International Society.

Tuesday, September 18 at 6:30 p.m. (103 Orchard Street) for a  Tenement Talk where the Tenement Museum meets Downton Abbey.

A writer-to-writer investigation of the creative process and its interplay with domesticity and intimacy using Yankee poet Emily Dickinson and Irish immigrant maid, Margaret Maher, as signature figures.

We’ll meet these two women in the kitchen where together they cook, wash dishes, and write. In the rarely seen female zones, voices and culture press one upon the other to astonishing effect.

How does the figure of an immigrant maid in Emily Dickinson’s story alter our notion of the poet at work?

With award-winning novelist Kathleen Hill in conversation with writer-baker Aífe Murray. Co-sponsored by Glucksman Ireland House.

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Can I come in costume?

Posted in poetry on May 3rd, 2012 by admin – Be the first to comment

“Can I come in costume?!!”asked Library Commission President Jewelle Gomez.

“Of course,” I said, “Some readers will probably wear white — or (fake) fur. You know, like Emily’s dog Carlo.”

We were talking about San Francisco’s first Emily Dickinson Poetry Marathon to be held 12-1-12 at the SFPL – for the poet’s 182nd birthday!

If the president of the San Francisco Library Commission is planning to dress up for a chronological reading of Emily D’s opus, you can too.

Come for the all day read of ED’s poems on Saturday, December 1. Your sponsors – Litquake, the Emily Dickinson International Society, and the SFPL – will have copies of the complete poems on hand.

No experience necessary!

Join us in the Hispanic / Latino Rooms after 10 a.m. and all day on Saturday, 12-1-12.

Volunteers needed to spread the word & help on marathon day. Contact Aífe: marathon [at] aifemurray [dot] com.

Updates here, for now, and -soon- on FB, Twitter, and sponsors’ sites.

Good poetic karma!