There was much excitement in our house when we heard that Tate Modern is going to do a Roni Horn exhibition this year. I have tickets for the talk on 25 February so should be able to report on any interesting landscape-related discussion. One of the first series of hers that caught my imagination was the 'Key and Cue' works, like I'm Nobody! Who Are You? (1994). These each use just the first line from one of Emily Dickinson's 1,775 short poems. Some other examples from the series which have a landscape connection are:
THE MOUNTAINS - GROW UNNOTICED
AIR HAS NO RESIDENCE, NO NEIGHBOR.
TO MAKE A PRAIRIE IT TAKES A CLOVER AND ONE BEE
FREQUENTLY THE WOODS ARE PINK -
These fragments have a sense of containment but retain a quality of openness and complexity. When you read the whole Emily Dickinson poem it can seem a slight anticlimax...
FREQUENTLY the woods are pink,
Frequently are brown;
Frequently the hills undress
Behind my native town.
Oft a head is crested
I was wont to see,
And as oft a cranny
Where it used to be.
And the earth, they tell me,
On its axis turned,—
By but twelve performed!
But I wouldn't say this about many of them - few of us would prefer the fragment to this famous poem...
To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee, -
One clover, and a bee,
The revery alone will do
If bees are few.
To end, here are a few more Emily Dickinson first lines, which I've extracted from the index to her collected poems, each suggestive of a landscape:
THE MOUNTAINS STOOD IN HAZE
THE CLOUDS THEIR BACKS TOGETHER LAID
A LANE OF YELLOW LED THE EYE,
A FIELD OF STUBBLE LYING SERE,
A WILD BLUE SKY ABREAST OF WINDS
FOUR TREES UPON A SOLITARY ACRE
THE HILLS IN PURPLE SYLLABLES
HOW THE OLD MOUNTAINS DRIP WITH SUNSET
MY GARDEN LIKE THE BEACH