Award Winners

The Writer Magazine/Emily Dickinson Award - 2002

Mary Ann Samyn


When she left, a little latch clicked
and the whole fence shook, briefly.

But even that sound was perfect
like the sound of God in the right mouth.

Of course the earth is fringey at the edges,
but even there, what hangs wants

to be touched. How could she not move
through it, the air around her hands rippling

in the most delicate bewilderment?
Behind her, the pickets' white vertebrae

let off a burst of light though she remained
as she had always been: mute, outside.

Alice Fulton on Mary Ann Samyn

"The Beauty Zone" beautifully evokes the marginality and mystery that surround our understanding of Emily Dickinson. The poem creates a Dickinsonian space— God-absorbed, delicate, sublime— by way of the emblematic fence. There she was and is, eternally on the fringe, excluded by choice, between worlds, reticent even as she wrote, even as she left. "The Beauty Zone," with its quietude and shimmering depth, bespeaks— and enacts— the residue of her effect.