For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her: On Paul Legault’s Emily Dickinson
FIRST THINGS FIRST: It’s a joke. If you don’t get that — that it’s a joke — then you are going to be enraged, or disgruntled, or just downright annoyed by The Emily Dickinson Reader. Take the Amazon reviewer who writes that Paul Legault’s book of Dickinson translations is “insulting” to both Dickinson and her readers. That particular reader didn’t get that it was a joke. Or if he did, he forgot it momentarily, rushing to Dickinson’s defense against a twenty-first century poet who takes all 1,789 of her poems and turns them into mostly pithy one-liners written in contemporary vernacular.