“I only wish you could spend just five minutes beneath my skin and feel what it’s like. Feel the savage swarming magic I feel” (Bennett 48)

How does one begin to write about Claire-Louise Bennett’s Pond? I don’t even know what to call it, genre-wise, and nothing I say can really qualify as objective. It is deeply personal to me and, based on the little I have been able to find about it, deeply personal to others who have read it, save for the few negative reviews calling it “pretentious” and “boring,” which is perfectly alright. That’s all perfectly alright…


Page 19 of Dickinson’s Herbarium

Emily Dickinson completed her herbarium around 1844, meaning she was about fourteen years old and that the herbarium itself is about 176 years old. There are 424 specimens carefully pressed within the pages of this dark green book, which was purchased from the Merriam brothers in Springfield, Massachusetts. With a careful hand, Dickinson identified the specimens most likely using just two sources: Amos Eaton’s Manual of Botany for North America and William Jackson Hooker’s Flora Boreali-Americana. The former contains only descriptions, while the latter contains black and white ink illustrations. The Flora Boreali-Americanais actually housed at the Missouri Botanical Garden…


“I’m Nobody! Who are you?”

“I’m Nobody! Who are you?” from Dickinson’s eleventh fascicle resonates with the ceaseless nature of social media in the twenty-first century. It is unclear when Dickinson wrote the poem itself, but she put this particular fascicle together in 1861, just before the start of the Civil War. During this time, Dickinson lived in her family home where she wrote a lot about space. Public space was becoming more common in society, making the idea of private versus public space a new idea. …


Emily Dickinson put her eleventh fascicle together in late 1861. This fascicle is comprised of eight sheets and twenty poems (eight of which contain variant readings). Before this, Dickinson only composed a few poems with variants, thus making this fascicle a true marker of the beginning of Dickinson’s experimental style. Dickinson also employs underlines and explanation points, suggesting a sense of urgency and agitation. Another interesting aspect is Dickinson’s use of blank spaces, meaning she probably meant to add more poems later. This fascicle addresses the themes of thought, desire, comfort, and nature, as well as death and God. …


Cover of Emily Dickinson’s Herbarium, circa 1844

Dickinson gathered specimens and created her herbarium around the age of fourteen (circa 1844). The herbarium contains 424 pressed specimens, 250 being native to Amherst, Massachusetts. Dickinson attended Amherst Academy where she studied botany under Dr. Edward Hitchcock. In addition to formal studies, Dickinson owned Amos Eaton’s Manuel of Botany, for North America as well as William Jackson Hooker’s Flora boreali-americana. All of these resources combined allowed Dickinson to accurately identify the specimens which she collected by their scientific names and numbers. …


If
in the after
noon you see
me I am glar

ing
at you, know I
am not see
ing you but a

blob
and I am so
rry it’s just
that I forgot

my
glasses again —
forgive me
I have so much

on
my mind today —
well ever
y day — stranger!


14 August 2018

You were There, swaying like a dandelion, when I fell down the stairs because I wasn’t looking and because I thought I had finished all the steps

You held my elbow and forearm as you pulled me up, continuing to sway and twirl

and I felt like a child, simultaneously wanting to burst into tears and completely awestruck at your fairy-like presence

Compromising, I gazed at you, eyes wet and mouth ajar, sighing — trancelike — at the peace you released and sent (like pollen from your body) to Me,

a negative nose in need of a good sneeze.


I remember my father’s bare, freckled shoulders

bright orange swim trunks

black fabric around his left calf.

He’d sit in the sun

his head back in our green and yellow

striped beach chair

His sunglasses with the attachment around his neck still show up vividly in my mind all these years later

Where me and my siblings lost copious amounts of sunglasses to the power of the sea,

my father never would

He loved to be in the water

He’d take me out on the purple and blue striped boogie board when my siblings started to get on my nerves


(You should listen to the Pride and Prejudice (2005) soundtrack while reading)

She was at the point of continuing her walk, when she caught a glimpse of a gentleman within the sort of grove which edged the park; he was moving that way; and fearful of its being Mr. Darcy, she was directly retreating. But the person who advanced was now near enough to see her, and stepping forward with eagerness, pronounced her name. She had turned away, but on hearing herself called, though in a voice which proved it to be Mr. Darcy, she moved again toward the gate…

Maura Kernell

Quiet stories

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