—Holland Cotter, The New York Times
Defending difference took a lifelong fight, one which she was willing and able — supremely able — to wage.
—Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker
Dickinson’s incandescent thinking is everywhere on display, and the makeshift nature of the scraps gives us a vivid idea of what composition must have felt like for a woman whose thoughts raced far ahead of her ability to capture them.
—Larry Smith, New York Journal of Books
Here is a book almost as rare as its author, Emily Dickinson (1830–1886).
—Hannah Star Rogers, Tupelo Quarterly
The Gorgeous Nothings is proof that one of our most important poets can still amaze and teach us new thing about the practice of poetry.
—Jessica Michalofsky, Quarterly Conversation
[The Gorgeous Nothings] opens up an aspect of her craft that suggests she was, in the so-called late ecstatic period of her career, experimenting with creating texts in relation to the visual, spatial, and technological possibilities of her medium—composing in response to the confines of her writing world rather than despite it.
—Jennifer Day, Chicago Tribune
An insightful new volume, The Gorgeous Nothings, edited by Jen Bervin and Marta Werner, also provides a fascinating glimpse of Dickinson by assembling images documenting the poetry she scrawled on repurposed envelopes — envelopes that have themselves been elevated to a new sort of art.
—Brenda Shaughnessy, Los Angeles Times
We see from The Gorgeous Nothings the way [Dickinson’s] art and life were not separate endeavors. Dickinson wrote poetry every time she addressed or received an envelope. Whenever there was paper around, she put quill or pencil right to it. Dickinson, master of paradox. started these un-conversations with nobody, and so many years after her death, now — in curled script, with their sweet, perfect Ms and half-formed Ys, unpublished and unseen until now — they speak to us. And they have so much yet to say.
—Camden Avery, The Rumpus
The Gorgeous Nothings is one of the most ambitious, important literary feats of the year. It’s stunning, revelatory, and it functions as a key text to Dickinson’s oeuvre: seeing it demands a tectonic shift in the way we read her, brings her back to us even more extremely idiosyncratic than we could have guessed.
—Katie Peterson, Los Angeles Review of Books
For years, Dickinson critics have been looking for some kind of order among the manuscripts - some way to describe or theorize the ‘filing system’ that the poet left and we found. In The Gorgeous Nothings, instead, what’s restored to these traces of the work is a sense of occasioned disorder. What’s been preserved through time in her handwriting is the decision to occupy the page. The page becomes just as important as the writing.
—Helen Vendler, The New Republic
The beautiful reproduction, on the pages of The Gorgeous Nothings, of what might seem only negligible scraps of waste paper brings us closer to the restlessness of the constantly thinking poet who, in her later years, repeatedly seized her pencil and a fragment of an envelope to write about the lowliest and the most exalted states of being.
—Marjorie Perloff, Times Literary Supplement
Visual poets around the world will soon be mining these endlessly suggestive fragments.
—Holland Cotter, The New York Times
The shocks are in the words, with other, lingering, aftershocks following in the visual details of their settings. The great thing about this indispensable book is…that it gives us all of this, complete.
—Craig Morgan Teicher, NPR
[The Gorgeous Nothings] is a rare gift for all poetry lovers.
—Ben Lerner, The New Yorker
This exquisitely produced book [The Gorgeous Nothings]—lovingly curated by Bervin and Werner—allows you to encounter Emily Dickinson’s ‘envelope poems’ in full-color facsimile for the first time. It’s an experience suspended between reading and looking, of toggling between those two modes of perception, and it thoroughly refreshes both.