Posted in poem of the week

Poem of the Week: The Only Portrait of Emily Dickinson by Irene McKinney

fullsizerender-16The Only Portrait of Emily Dickinson by Irene McKinney
The straight neck held up out of the lace
is bound with a black velvet band.
She holds her mouth the way she chooses,
the full underlip constrained by a small muscle.
She doesn’t blink or look aside,
although her left eye is considering
a slant. She would smile
if she had time, but right now
there is composure to be invented.
She stares at the photographer.
The black crepe settles. Emerging
from the sleeve, a shapely hand
holds out a white, translucent blossom.
“They always say things which embarrass
my dog,” she tells the photographer.
She is amused, but not as much as he’d like.
Irene McKinney, “The Only Portrait of Emily Dickinson” from Unthinkable: Selected Poems 1976-2004, Red Hen Press. Copyright © 2009 by Irene McKinney.
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The Center for Poetry opened in the fall of 2007 to encourage the reading, writing, and discussion of poetry and to create an awareness of the place and power of poetry in our everyday lives. We think about this in a number of ways, including through readings, shows, community outreach, and workshops. We are at work building a poetry community at MSU and in the greater Lansing area. Contact: cpoetry@msu.edu (517) 884-1932 http://www.poetry.rcah.msu.edu

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