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Saturday, February 4, 2023

Landscape architect and author Marco Martella enters Emily Dickinson’s garden


When Emily Dickinson was little, she spent a lot of time in the woods. Her family warned her that a snake might bite her. Maybe she would come across a poisonous flower, even a goblin could kidnap her. “But I went further and found nothing but angels,” wrote the poet.

Dickinson is depicted with her hair tied back and parted in two, with her austere dress and intelligent gaze in a daguerreotype presiding over the reproduction of the workplace (the small table) at which she worked in Amherst. She is holding a bouquet of flowers that she has grown or grown in her garden. The flowers in the photo are pansies, “the most modest there are,” says Marco Martella.

The French-based Italian landscape author and writer once again takes us to a garden, which in his case is always a forest full of mysteries, wild plants and fascinating stories. We know Emily Dickinson existed, but we’re having a hard time finding Mrs. Dorothy Paz to lead her to these thoughts. Does not matter. Martha, a niece of Dickinson, remembers entering the house which, according to legend, she never left. Martella explains why: He had everything inside and the garden. During a visit from Martha, when her niece was already in the house, her aunt closed the door with her hand, as if she were doing it with an imaginary key. “Here, dear, is freedom,” he told her.

Translated by Natalia Zarco, this attachment is like a bouquet of flowers. “What is art if not the attempt to escape the brutality of nature, the destructive work of time?” asks the landscape painter and turns away from the “people who walk the streets with their faces wanting to be somewhere else ‘ to draw closer to beings whose ‘life had been left perfectly and wonderfully empty and without a future: there was nothing to worry about’.

Martella writes of William Morris, who defended that “Beauty is born of beauty, for when you make a beautiful object you plant a seed. That’s why it turns out to be revolutionary to make something beautiful with your hands, because in an ugly or decrepit world nobody can think. Don’t be happy either. Much less love.”

Cover of ‘Fleurs’, by Marco Martella.Marco Martina

For this reason, before he died at the age of 73, Morris defended the right to beauty for the whole world. Martella’s book explains that happiness does not immunize against unhappiness. And yet the latter is responsible for so many searches and changes. It’s not easy to live. And it’s that simple. “Nature is a closed and at the same time open space. It connects us and isolates us. He saves us from our loneliness.” And it allows us to be alone.

Martella writes: “He wasn’t afraid of dying, but the idea of ​​giving up his garden must have made him sad” in the mouth of his girlfriend Pia. Use one like yours, we’re thinking of Pia Pera, the author of I haven’t told my garden yet (Errata Naturae), written when he knew his terminal illness. But it’s speculation, because Martella’s secret is whether the characters who inhabit and care for them and often neglect them are real or not, these orchards always give the feeling of entering a forest.

Dickinson struts through this new volume – posing with a bouquet of pansies – and Gilles Clément, the famous landscape painter of the Third Landscape, who understands that when he comes across the largest parsley in existence, he is to let the herbs grow at will. Martella’s secret is that her books are like gardens, “beautiful dreams designed to make us feel less alone from time to time”. That is a truth that will be understood by reading this book. But even for Emily Dickinson, the truth is much simpler. The poet did not stop going out because she was afraid of everything. He did it because he had everything at home. Including a garden. She was no timid, flower-loving spinster. He was someone who had learned from nature that death and life do not contradict each other, but rather blend endlessly.

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Source elpais.com

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