Home > Entertainment, Lifestyle > Flora, Fauna and Poetry and the Botanical Gardens

Flora, Fauna and Poetry and the Botanical Gardens

by Helen Lee, staff writer

On Thursday, The New York Botanical Gardens celebrated “Poem in your Pocket Day” (on which celebrants are encouraged to carry their favorite poems in their pockets) with the opening of the Emily Dickinson “Poetry in Flowers” exhibit. Just a stone’s throw from Fordham’s Rose Hill Campus, the event featured special guests Mayor Bloomberg and Sigourney Weaver, as well as classes from a few Bronx public schools. Mayor Bloomberg read his own attempt at poetry, which began with the first line of Dickinson’s poem, “Hope Is The Thing With Feathers,” and later quipped that one day he might be the subject of an exhibit at The New York Botanical Gardens. One can hope! Along with the President of the Gardens, Sigourney Weaver did a reading of the Dickinson favorite, “I’m Nobody, Who Are You?” and introduced a local student who read a poem of her own, beginning with a line from another of Dickinson’s poems.

The speakers at the event pointed out that in her lifetime, Dickinson was known more for her gardening than for her poetry. At one point, she compiled a 60 page herbarium of over 400 flower specimens that she collected and fastidiously classified with their Latin names. A digitized version of the herbarium is on display at the Botanical Gardens’ Mertz Library, courtesy of Harvard University. In the Conservatory is a recreation of the garden Dickinson maintained at her Amherst home. A docent and horticulturist was overheard as saying that Dickinson identified with different types of flowers at different points in her life. At one point, she would even present new people with a couple of daisies, and let that serve as an introduction.

The exhibit is on display until June 13th. Dickinson is one of America’s most beloved poets. Take advantage of this great opportunity to appreciate the beauty of her garden and to learn a little bit more about her!

[Editor’s Note: Check out my favorite Dickinson poem, “Heart! We Will Forget Him!“]

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