|Letter from Harvard University Press|
While I was writing DESTINY, REWRITTEN, I came across the most perfect poem in THE COMPLETE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON, edited by Thomas H. Johnson. (1951) Miss Dickinson wrote the poem in 1873. It is proof that she wondered about a person's destiny. Here is the beautiful poem:
In this short Life
That only lasts an hour
How much - how little - is
Within our power
To me, this poem says so much. It gives us insight into Miss Dickinson's thoughts on what a person might or might not have control over. I love how she capitalized the "L" in "life" on the first line, as if she were emphasizing this very word, the great importance of it. I also love how she puts the question to the reader, how much control do we really have?
My editor at HarperCollins, Molly O'Neill, and I both agreed that it would be wonderful if we could include the poem on the first page of my own book, so I wrote to Harvard University Press to ask permission to use it.
We were overjoyed when we received the letter from them saying we could include the poem. I think, if you get a chance to read DESTINY, REWRITTEN, when it comes out in February of 2013, that you will agree with me. The poem is...perfect.