“If I read a book and it makes my body so cold no fire could ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know. Is there any other way?” — Emily Dickinson
Photos of this girl, the poster child for suppressed 19th-century women writers, show her to have more vitality than do the sexless puritan portraits of her that we have come to expect. Such ecstatic poetry was not written by any wallflower. She preferred to wear white, shifted here to a more fashionable, synthetic shade. She is posed before wallpaper doubling as a heavenly sky lit by 52 Florentine stars. There seems to be a storm brewing beneath the table supporting the Good Book with its red, serpent-tongue book mark. What do it mean? I believe Emily would have achieved celebrity status were she alive today, so I depict her hair as a Gwen Stefani blond dye-job. Who knows.