Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sorry to keep you waiting!

So, yes, wow, hallucinations: not sure, but something powerful happened, because it's taken me a couple of days to recover from Friday's Emily Dickinson birthday party. Not that the poets were all that wild or anything... but that famous, maybe-hallucination-inducing Black Cake plus those poems... well, it was a potent combination, that's all I know.

And just what does Dickinson's Black Cake look like? Like this, one of four small loaves made by yours truly:

And what does it taste like? Like fruit cake, but delicious. Especially when paired with hard sauce, which is—drumroll, please—confectioner's sugar + butter + brandy or rum or whiskey. I made all three, so we could do a definitive taste test. My personal favorite? Whiskey, thanks for asking.

So the poets partook, as you can see in this next photo. That's Charity Gingerich in the foreground dressed as "'Hope' is the thing with feathers— / That perches in the soul — " (note the red bird as corsage...) and Danielle Ryle way in back dressed as "It's all I have to bring today — / This, and my heart beside — " (she cut out that red heart while waiting for her students to drop off their portfolios: talk about time well spent...).

And then we each chose a short (but oh-so-intense) Dickinson poem to read aloud. I got #28:

We lose — because we win —
Gamblers — recollecting which —
Toss their dice again!

—which makes you think, doesn't it? And say it out loud—it'll just take a few seconds and really does sound so good.

And then, finally, toward the end of the evening, those remaining gathered by the fireplace for this photo, with MFA alum Beth Staley calling out Dickinson lines for us to say as she snapped the pictures.

So, yes, we had a nice time and we wished you were there and next year everyone is invited and we'll have Black Cake and hard sauce, hallucinations and poems. I promise.


  1. In the meantime, of course, the doctoral students spent their Friday night in the usual dreary way doing meth-fueled dissertation revisions. :-)

  2. You may have hit on a way to get around the prohibition on booze at Colson events. If it's disguised as literal, rather than merely metaphorical, sauce...

  3. oh wait, I guess that would be "merely metonymic"