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EDDid you know that Emily Dickinson liked to write poems on envelopes? Not just on the back of the odd stray envelope – as one might do occasionally, when an idea strikes and no notebook is at hand. No: Emily did it in a curious and deliberate way, on torn or cut pieces of envelopes…

These paper pieces survive among her manuscripts, and are usually called “scraps”. Well, scholar Christine Burgin, who studied them in depth, gave them a new name, taken from one of Emily’s poems. She calls them the Gorgeous Nothings – in the Dickinson sense of the words: Nothing as a renovating force…

Here you can read a lovely article by Jen Bervin for Poetry Foundation, and see a few images of these very meaningful scraps. Fascinating stuff.

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