4 September 2010
What else this morning? The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson Facebook Page has posted the most beautiful woodcut of E.D., made especially for them by a Finnish artist, Jarkko Pylväs.
I am so struck by the image. It's like a photographic negative, or black chalkboard with designs etched in white, or an electrified afterimage, as when you look at something dazzlingly bright, shut your eyes, and the image inverts and repeats aglow. It captures E.D. and what she's about beautifully. She's surrounded by feathers, webs, "gods eyes" (ornaments I made as a very little girl, yarn wound and woven around a cross of popsicle sticks - called "gods eyes"), a crescent moon, stars, snowflakes, moonbeams, and starlight. He has captured E.D.'s likeness, idiosyncratic image instantly recognizable - hair parted in a bun, pudgy nose and full-lipped mouth, ribbon crossed at her throat - yet has managed to capture a most elusive quality, a sense of her poetic capacity. She does not look directly at us, as in the iconic daguerrotype. Rather - and more evocatively - she has thought of something; pensive, she looks away, off to the side, heeding the starlight and gods eyes and feathers and webs and stars - she hears beyond the genius of the sea.
Thank you, Jarkko.
Jarkko Pylväs, Woodcut of Emily, 2010