Sunday, November 11, 2007

Emily Dickinson Dysfunction, Part I

A confession: I have trouble reading Emily Dickinson's poems.

My first encounter with her was probably high school, probably, "I'm nobody, who are you?"

In college, her Complete Poems in my hand, I convinced myself I was indifferent to her work. More likely I didn't like the feeling of being trapped in the corridors of her mind.

Whitman was a different story: "I depart as air," he wrote.

I longed for a transcendent experience like Whitman's; I still do. Whitman gave me hope of shedding this mortal coil. Dickinson did not. Her isolation, her "madness," her constant tracings of mind-shifts, the volatile underpinnings of her seemingly quiet existance were all things I did not want for myself.

More to come.


redsneakz said...

I regret that much of nineteenth century Americana is lost on me, especially poetry.

She was clearly no amateur, yet the strongly rhythmic feel to the poems makes them feel... simplistic?

Marian Veverka said...

There is a "Short Movie" about Emily dickinson. I saw it at Firelands campus in the early 1990'. Larry Smith showed it to our writing group, The Firelands Writing Center. It was maybe 1 or 2 reels, an actress portrayed Emily & the scenes were shot in Amherst, aome in her home. Joel Rudinger was there, too. Maybe you could contact Larry or Joel about it. Also it might have been transferred to DVD or video sonce then. I'm trying to find the poem my friend Gwen Fick wrote about Emily. It's not in her chapbook. Gwen passed away (ovarian cancer) in 2004. I don't go to the writing center meetings any more, it's too far to drive alone & night, Gwen & I used to go together. She was a good poet & a good friend.
Good luck w/ getting to know Emily



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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken


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