This may already be old news to some, but apparently a new daguerrotype of Emily Dickinson has been found!  Aside from the fact that it’s nice to have images of what she looks like, I found it interesting that the Guardian thought that the image

…will shed new light on the poet who, by the late 1850s, was withdrawing further and further from the world.

Aside from the fact that she was willing to have the photo taken and that there’s only one of daguerreotype of Dickinson as a teenager, I feel like this will have little impact on who she is as a poet.  However, I think the assumption and hope coming out of Amherst is interesting:

If the daguerreotype is eventually proved to be Dickinson, Amherst believes it will “change our idea” of the poet, showing her “as a mature woman showing striking presence, strength, and serenity”, rather than as a teenager.

“She (whoever she is) seems to be the one in charge here, the one who decided that on a certain day in a certain year, she and her friend would have their likenesses preserved. In fact, even if this photograph is not of Dickinson and Turner, it has still been of use in forcing us to imagine Dickinson as an adult, past the age of the ethereal-looking 16-year-old we have known for so many years,” the college added.

Having studied Emily Dickinson in college, I feel that she is and has been a very misunderstood, misrepresented poet.  She is seen as weak, fragile.  And while this may seem logical enough given her retreat and eventual mostly reclusive existence, there is also so much life and spirit in her words (both poems and letters) that I find it hard to imagine her fitting into people’s beliefs about her.

And, since we’re talking about Emily Dickinson and autumn is approaching, I’ll leave you with this:

Besides the Autumn poets sing,	
A few prosaic days	
A little this side of the snow	
And that side of the Haze -	

A few incisive mornings -	        
A few Ascetic eves -	
Gone - Mr Bryant's "Golden Rod" -	
And Mr Thomson's "sheaves."	

Still, is the bustle in the brook -	
Sealed are the spicy valves -	        
Mesmeric fingers softly touch	
The eyes of many Elves -	

Perhaps a squirrel may remain -	
My sentiments to share -
Grant me, Oh Lord, a sunny mind -        
Thy windy will to bear!

3 thoughts on “Poetry News: New Emily Dickinson Daguerreotype

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