Emily's Garden by Brigitte Carnochan

February 02, 2019 to March 30, 2019
Emily
1275 Minnesota Street
San Francisco - 94107 CA
My first photographs were of flowers and I suspect my last will be as well. I have been drawn to gardens and to flowers, their exotic geometry and sensuous rigor, as long as I can remember. It is a rare day that there are no fresh flowers on my breakfast table. I share these feelings with Emily Dickinson, also a devoted gardener and lover of flowers, who often sent bouquets from her garden, accompanied by her poems, to friends and acquaintances.

Dickinson's poems first captured my imagination in high school-and her grip has never let go. I'm not alone. Her poems are widely admired and her life mythologized. Thousands of books include her poems or analyze them, and a recent film stars Cynthia Nixon as the talented, reclusive, poet.

Given that her poetry is unusual in its structure and handling of language-sometimes even opaque-what is it that attracts such devotion? Much is owing to the richness and mystery of her imagery, especially those flowers that become the vivid metaphors for her thoughts on every subject. Her poems were gardens in which she planted the flowers of her imagination. She used the 19th century “language of flowers,” in which an emotion or quality was commonly ascribed to a particular flower, but went beyond it to create visual bouquets of her own meaning. She makes herself the flower in her garden of the poem.

I have tried to capture the spirit and depth of her poetry as embodied in her floral metaphors-the poesy of her posies-by including in her own handwriting the line of a poem, inconspicuously or half hidden, on which my image is based. She wrote almost 1800 poems, adorned with many hundreds of floral references. I had a wealth of inspiration.

Brigitte Carnochan

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