Letters From the Emily Dickinson Room - You Can Pre-order Now!

I am so excited to see my friend Kelli Agodon's new book, Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room is now available from Amazon. Of course, it's always best to do book orders from your local bookseller, or White Pine Press, or Kelli herself. But I can't help but be happy when I see a book come on to Amazon for pre-order. It signals to me that the book will soon be in the world. Like a coming attraction at the movie theater. I thought I would also include a poem of Kelli's here, "How Killer Blue Irises Spread" is one of my favorite. This was originally published in The Atlantic.

How Killer Blue Irises Spread

       —Misheard health report on NPR
The quiet ones, the flowers
the neighbors said
kept to themselves,
Iris getagunandkillus, shoots
and rhizomes reaching
beneath the fence.
The shifty ones,
Mickey Blue Iris, the tubers
that pretend to be dormant
then spread late at night into
the garden of evil and no good.
They know hell, their blue flames
fooling van Gogh, the knife
he stuck into soil before he sliced
the bulbs in three, nights
he spent painting in a mad heat.
They swell before the cut
and divide of autumn.
An entire field of tulips,
flattened. Daylilies found
like lean bodies across the path.
The wild blue iris claims
responsibility, weaves through
the gladioli, into the hothouse
where the corpse flower blooms
for a single day, its scent
of death calling to the flies.


  1. I've loved this poem since I first read it. What we misunderstand is almost always more interesting than what we understand. Misunderstanding can lead to new understandings, ones that understanding itself -- at the outset -- might have never urged our minds into.

  2. Hi Dana, It's a great writing prompt to work off a misheard headline or radio story. I've always heard "If music be the food of love, play on." This inspired one of my poems in the new book, "Food for Fallen Angels." Let me know if you try it!

  3. Marvelous. I participate in several online groups that use prompts from recipe books, checkout counter headlines, etc. Last week's prompts were from a history of Barbie dolls. It is amazing, sometimes, what issues forth, and hard work and fun, too.

  4. Maureen, I would love to hear about the prompts from recipe books! Would you share one that you liked here?


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