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Dropped Stitches and Dotted Dots: Writer's Blog by Joanne E. Gates

Sewing as Metaphor for Writing: Emily's Dickinson's "Don't Put Up My Thread and Needle"

Women writers have used metaphors of sewing and embroidery to represent creativity in all forms. Alice Walker’s "In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens" is one popular example. When I teach the labyrinth of Lady Mary Wroth's Crowne of Sonnets, I remember a fellow student in a Princeton seminar joking that Wroth may have "cross stitched" her second part of Urania after the published first part it was summarily withdrawn from circulation. (It borrowed fictional characters from real people at court. Where would scholarship on Wroth be, without the dedication of Josephine Roberts and her associates who finished the work of publishing Part Two?)  Read More 

Stitches in a Critical Time: Revisiting an Early Publication on Elizabeth Robins

Today, August 6, 2018, is the 156th birthday of Elizabeth Robins! More than any other writing project, she defines my writing and academic life. Now, with the paperback edition of her biography forthcoming, I want to renew some unfinished or under circulated projects. I plan to explore the possibility of fictionalizing the life of Robins, as well as collecting my academic presentations into a volume. At the same time, there will be other topics and projects that find their way here. I will be explaining the richer context of stitching and the "dotted dot" (from a poem by Emily Dickinson) as metaphors for women who write. In my early years, I did not participate fully in the sewing groups that are primarily matrilineal. Perhaps I am making up for that with my passion for photographing quilts, even using the internet to teach myself knitting. Here is an early recognition of Robins as writer and activist. Read More