In 2014, as Elka Schumann tells it on the back of the 2016 Break and Puppet Calendar, she and her husband Peter, the founder of Bread and Puppet Theater, “began reading Emily Dickinson poms aloud regularly, two to four a night. In high school I’d been force-fed a few of her poems (still memorized); two decades later, intrigued by the odd, hermit-style of the poet’s life, I read a few more. Now, almost 45 years later, we are mesmerized, delighted, transported, by her language and thoughts. Searching for a theme for the 2016 calendar, I glanced through the index of first lines, and –lo! they made beautiful poetry! I listed 50 for Peter to look at, and next day he chiseled 15 masonite cuts.”
When I talked to Peter and Elka about Dickinson’s poetry, they said that the only other poet who compared to her in terms of sheer brilliance and beauty of imagery was Hölderlin, and you have to read him in the original German!