Modernist American poetry has two parents, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, but it’s been awhile since we’ve presented any Whitman here. Dickinson is a subversive Modernist, ironically skewing the expected tropes. Whitman on the other hand is the provocateur, the poet who is proud to say right out front everything he wishes to change. As … Continue reading When I Peruse the Conquer’d Fame
How much do we know about Emily Dickinson as personality, as a living person? I can’t say that we know much at all. Originally, she was marketed as cypher, an enigma, a hermit/shut-in, and this reflected a valid aspect of the later parts of her life. The self alone is not a no-place, but it’s … Continue reading I Had a Terror Since September
I once thought that one of the marvels of Emily Dickinson is that she was able to create such revolutionary poetry without any supporting circle of fellow writers. She had poetic heroes: Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, but she never met them. Well, it turns out there’s a bit more to her story. Last … Continue reading Poppies on the Wheat. Before 1890 the most famous woman writer from Amherst wasn’t Emily Dickinson.
I’ve been looking forward to this Emily Dickinson biopic since I first heard of it a few months back. I acknowledge the difficulty of making a film about writers, particularly if the film wants to give due weight to their writing, the least cinematic of art forms—but just because it’s difficult doesn’t mean it shouldn’t … Continue reading Wild Nights with Emily
Thomas Wentworth Higginson may have exaggerated a bit, speaking then of “dread.” But it was 1891, and he had taken on editing the surprisingly vast literary legacy of Emily Dickinson for its first substantial publication. In this task, he was a lucky find, for though he had engaged in a lengthy correspondence with Dickinson when … Continue reading Wild Nights Wild Nights
An artist named Linnea Hadaway made a book earlier this year. It had no words in it. She said it had no words because it was about listening. Today is International Women’s Day, an arbitrary thing like all special days, months and years. I can hear some grumbling off in the distance as some read … Continue reading March 2018 Parlando Top 10 Part 2
Writers often like to compose their written works in their heads while walking, and poets, all the more so. It seems natural—the walking footsteps and the metrical foot compare apace. I too have done this; and with poetry in particular, composing lines while away from any paper or screen may also help winnow out the more … Continue reading What Is It the Rain Dissolves