Paul Legault is an Ontario native raised in Tennessee. He was in grad school at the University of Virginia taking a seminar on Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson when he became frustrated about how literal his fellow students were interpreting the poet’s verse. He’d write down their commentary in the margins of his books and eventually started to enjoy how ridiculous they sounded. The Emily Dickinson Reader: An English-to-English Translation of Emily Dickinson’s Complete Poems is a product of Paul Legault rewriting Emily Dickinson’s 1,789 poems into one-liners during his lunch breaks. It is delightful, humorous, insightful, inventive and a perfect book for any poet or person in need of a laugh.
I particularly enjoyed these lines from the book…
184. Love has really big hands.
436. The sun is why we can see the sun.
790. People are born small and slowly increase in size.
807. I like to be in a foreign country because of the way it feels to be in a foreign country.
1105. Flirtatious Emily Dickinson is mad at austere, heartbroken Emily Dickinson.
1081. I like people who give me peanuts.
1179. It’s hard to be sad and to jump at the same time.
1352. I’m sleepy but I’m also mad that I’m sleepy.
1367. Old people have cute faces.
1386. Nobody cares that I got the perfect attendance award.
Paul Legault has also written Omnidawn Poetry Prizewinner, The Madeleine Poems and The Other Poems (Fence Modern Poets Series). You can get The Emily Dickinson Reader at the McSweeney’s Store. In fact, get all of Paul’s books because they will make you super happy…and reading is a good thing.
P.S. Paul is a very attractive human…just so you know.