It goes without saying that Emily Dickinson needs to be represented in every library and having three volumes is advisable for a small town library. However, two of these are getting ragged.
The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
This edition came out in 1960 and has seen a lot of use. It’s been checked out 37 times and I suspect it saw use elsewhere before coming to the Albertville library. It was last checked out one year ago. This is the quintessential Dickinson volume to have on the shelf. Considering it’s popularity and its poor condition, the sooner it’s replaced the better.
This volume, like the previous one, is dated 1960. Since it’s a paperback, it’s amazing it has survived this long. But it’s not going to survive much longer. The cover is coming off. Another volume of this sort, a selected, rather than complete, poems, needs to be on the shelf. It’s a shame this one is coming apart because it offered a brief introduction and some explanatory notes throughout.
The Mystery of Beauty
This is a full 8.5 x 11 sized book pairing Dickinson’s nature poetry with full color photographs of scenery, birds and small animals. It’s a lovely volume copyrighted 1976 that has stood the test of time very well. It’s in great condition and appears to be a fairly new acquisition despite the copyright date. I’m the first one to check it out, which is surprising considering how it stands out on the shelf and its beautiful photos. Though it has great appeal and is a happy addition to the shelves, it’s no replacement for a slimmer collection of Dickinson’s best poems, such as the paperback mentioned above. The poems in this volume are more charm than depth. Emily Dickinson wrote almost 1800 poems; some are light and some are a ton of bricks. These are the lighter variety.