Monday, September 29, 2008

Yes, Your Verse Is Alive, Emily!

I’m sorry to be missing this event, as this new book on Emily Dickinson and her friendship with Thomas Wentworth Higginson has been getting a lot of buzz:

The Arts Club of Washington presents "Her Own Society: Brenda Wineapple on Emily Dickinson" based on Wineapple's new book White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

Tuesday, October 7 - 7:00 PM
Arts Club of Washington
2017 I Street NW, DC.
(703) 994-3166.
Free and open to the public; booksigning and reception to follow.

On Tuesday, October 7, the Arts Club of Washington will host renowned author BrendaWineapple as she discusses the lives of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Their mysterious kinship is illuminated in Wineapple’s book White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, which Knopf released this August to rave reviews. Higginson was a radical abolitionist, John Brown supporter, gun-runner, and leader of the first federally authorized regiment of black troops. He made the elusive poet’s acquaintance when she responded his Atlantic Monthly article offering advice to “young contributors.” She hand-scribbled a query: “Are you too deeply occupied to say if my Verse is alive?” Examining the poems, Higginson recognized “a wholly new and original poetic genius.”

EMILY DICKINSON (1830-1886) lived out most of her life in her family’s home in Amherst, Massachusetts. A prolific but private poet, she published fewer than a dozen poems before her death; later generations placed her among the masters of American poetry. Dickinson cultivated few outside correspondences, but her letters with Higginson spanned a quarter-century and included the exchange of almost one hundred poems. They would meet face-to-face only twice, encounters that are carefully and thrillingly recreated in White Heat.

BRENDA WINEAPPLE is also the author of the award-winning Hawthorne: A Life, GenĂȘt: A Biography of Janet Flanner, and Sister Brother: Gertrude and Leo Stein. She teaches in the MFA programs at Columbia University and The New School and lives in New York City.

Judith Thurman of The New Yorker praises Wineapple as “an astute literary biographer with a feisty prose style and a relish for unsettling received ideas....White Heat is written with a dry heat that does justice to its impassioned protagonists.” Franz Wright declared White Heat to be “one of the most astonishing books about poetry I have ever read.”

For more information, check the web site.


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.