Mother and Daughter Publish Emily Dickinson/Tree of the Year Winner – Poetry News Roundup October 23rd

Today, here at My Poetic Side, we start with a look at the mother and daughter who played a huge part in bringing the poetry of Emily Dickinson to the public. We also take a look at the Scottish winner of this years Tree of the Year.

The Mother and Daughter Behind the Emily Dickinson Legacy

A new book, “After Emily” that has been written by Julie Dobrow, tells how the mother and daughter team of Mable Loomis Todd and Millicent Todd Bingham played a huge part in the fame of the famed poet Emily Dickinson. They were the people responsible for both the editing and publishing of her poems after her death.

Emily Dickinson was thought of as a rather solitary figure. However, it thanks largely to the help provided by this mother and daughter that she is remembered.

Mabel Loomis Todd never really met Dickinson, despite living just under half a mile away from her. She was a frequent visitor to the house where Dickinson lived. She was having an affair with Dickinson’s older brother, an affair which lasted 12 years and led to many conflicts between the two families. In fact, it wasn’t until Dickinson’s funeral that she saw her for the first time.

Between them the mother and daughter were responsible for editing 3 poetry volumes and 2 volumes of letters.

The book has taken Dobrow 7 long years, during which she has researched letters, diaries and notes relating to the two women. She has also spent much of her time in the archives at several large American Universities.

The poems were edited following Dickinson’s death in 1886 when Lavinia, her sister, found over 1800 poems. She had in fact promised her sister that she would destroy all her papers, but she didn’t carry out this promise. It is thanks to this decision by Lavinia Dickinson, and the work of Mabel and Millicent, who had a significant job in editing the poetry that the poems of Emily Dickinson as we know them are around today.

Tree of the Year

Netty’s tree, which is located on Eriskay in Scotland, has been named as the tree of the year for Scotland.

The tree, which is a spruce, is located in the island of Eriskay in the Outer Hebrides. It was nominated for the competition which is run by the Woodland Trust by Eoina Wilson who is originally from the island but now lives in Inverness.

Netty’s Tree, which was until recently the only tree on the island, will now compete to become the UK entrant for the European Tree of the Year competition.

The tree was planted over 100 years ago by Father Allan McDonald. The priest was also a poet and a land rights activist. Netty MacDonald, for who the tree is named, lived nearby and encourage the local youngsters to play in the tree as their laughter reminded her of her children who had all moved away. She died in 2010 aged 88 and her daughter moved back to the croft where she continues her mother’s tradition.

Father McDonald wrote the poem Eilein na h”Oige – The Island of the Young.

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