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I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute

by Patience

Folk Art gallery


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When reflecting upon this month's EBSQ exhibit theme, "Celebrating Fan Art", I thought about all the innumerable and diverse popular cultural, social and artistic influences, present and past, that have impacted me throughout the course of my life.  Narrowing such a number down to one posed a big challenge -- however, being as that it so happens that the last several consecutive painting projects of mine lately have depicted male figures, I decided to at least concentrate on a woman, if only for a refreshing change of pace (no offense to men).  There are any number of amazing female cultural icons of whom I am a fan and deserving of tributes....but finally, the familiar first lines of an old poem came to mind....:


".....I heard a Fly buzz - when I died -
The Stillness in the Room
Was like the Stillness in the Air -
Between the Heaves of Storm...."


And so begins one of Emily Dickinson's most notable poems, "I Heard a Fly Buzz...."..... 

I remember first coming across this particular poem in English class all the way back to middle school or so.  I recall it was a struggle to understand the meaning that might possibly lie behind those few short lines of carefully chosen words.   What did it mean...?  A Fly.  Somebody's Death.  Buzzing.  ???   I was intrigued, my interest piqued all those years ago in that classroom -- and I, as have so many, went on to become a fan of her unique and unconventional writing style.....

An expressive composer of over 1700 poems, Emily Dickinson never actually received wide recognition within her lifetime.  She was undoubtedly an introvert -- something I can surely relate to.  An intensely private person, she instead became known more for her near reclusiveness in her later years and her penchant for wearing all white than she ever did for her writing. It was only after her death, when her secret stash of writings was discovered by a relative, that the astonishing scope of her work was finally revealed.

Emily Dickinson never married nor had children, but we can all agree she gave birth to a legacy of another kind: an incredible body of poetic verse, that continues to speak to us today nearly two centuries later. Thus I portray Miss Dickinson in this, my tribute portrait, in a dress of white, along with a friendly fly to keep her company....

(This is my 2nd in a series of tribute paintings to the great American poet, Emily Dickinson)



Detail Images


Detail Image for art I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute

"I Heard a Fly Buzz....": Side View

Detail Image for art I Heard a Fly Buzz....: Emily Dickinson Tribute

"I Heard a Fly Buzz": Emily Dickinson Tribute

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