The Gorgeous Nothings: Emily Dickinson’s Envelope-Poems by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner is a limited-edition artist book based on Dickinson’s late compositions on envelopes.
The edition includes a portfolio of high-resolution double-sided color prints of the manuscript facsimiles at actual scale with visual transcriptions. Marta Werner’s beautiful lyric essay, “Itineraries of Escape,” provides the scholarly, historic, and poetic context for these exquisite late writings by Dickinson. The edition is accompanied by a guide with a bibliographic directory for the fragments and a series of visual indexes.
Bervin writes “of Dickinson’s own definition for nothing: ‘the force that renovates | the World –’ and her definition for ‘no’: ‘the wildest word we consign to language.’ These ‘gorgeous nothings’ are that kind of nothing… I think of these manuscripts as the sort of ‘small fabric’ Dickinson writes of in A 636: ‘Excuse | Emily and | her Atoms | the North | Star is | of small | fabric but it | implies | much | presides | yet.’ […] This poem exemplifies Dickinson’s relationship to scale so perfectly. When we say small, we often mean less. When Dickinson says small, she means atoms, the North Star.”