“ Author: Emily Dickinson „
Why the title? Well you see it featured a dash - It is one- characteristic - Dickinson. Wheather it is deliberate or not Emily Dickinson's unique blend of obscure language and tranquil settings is perfectly a journey of life. Her naturlistic poems are obvious homages to Blake, whilst her slightly strange poems regarding Death are unique 100% to Emily Dickinson. I am only studying 16 of her hundreds of poems, which means I have a limited knowledge of the poet yet what I do study features death and the system of the seasons rather dramatically. Emily likes to express journey's in her poems, in the poem headed "Because I could not stop for death" it shows the death of a woman, taken on a carriage ride of what appears to be life, it shows the children at recess, the growing corn and the setting sun, which all indicates a stage of development, young, growing, death. Her poems are frequently depressive and indicates she suffers S.A.D (seasonal associated disorder). This is shown be her obvious dislike for winter in the majority of her poems and the desire for the onset of summer. Her religious connotations (often slight and needs delving to find) have indications of attacking the church and various calvanistic points of view. It isn't really what Dickinson writes about that's unique, it's how she writes it. The use of the dashes is a strange thing. One theory suggested it indicated unfinished lines, yet an early version of "Safe in the Alabaster Chambers" was a tightly constructed piece but after sending it to a friend she was suggested to change it and it featured more dashes and was far more obscure. It isn't obscure though to the point that it losses all meaning despite what one critic slated her for. It does require thinking but media today is so filled with obvious connotations and simple dilect that a film like Donnie Darko that makes you think, to some is utterly bewildering. The obscure, j
ourney, depressing, season filled poetry of Dickinson is another example of something that requires you to think. Her writing style is odd, and this makes the meaning less visible. It sometimes hints that you've entered a conversation half way through ("The Only Ghost I ever Saw) and it's brevity is often complemented especially for the 19th century period it was writen. It is strange and you must think and more often than not you are creating your own meaning to the poetry, which causes much debate in literature. Her dashes indicate unfinished business, as if it leads on and Dickinson doesn't tell you this. She doesn't move on effectivly and understandably, she literally asks you to think what might happen. This is at least one theory of the dashes. Of course Dickinson's frightfully odd use of vocabulary and placements of words (such as an adjactive as a noun, ending a poem with "In to the beautiful"... In to the beautiful what?), her dashes and her obsession with weird contrasting meanings. It is so odd that her poems frequently take the prospective of a dead person ("Because I could not stop for death", "Twas just this time last year I died" being two prime examples) and it is odd that she takes quite obscure scenario's into everyday, frequent situations. Emily Dickinson is a genius of work, it is a shame that often it appears that she is endevouring to create a rhyme. And her analytical style does bring her apart from poets like Blake even when she is mimicking him (often these are her less appreciated works). Any criticim is from school students trying to study her and realizing how difficult it is to revise a collection of poems that have so many meanings. This is what is so great though, I could write a 3 page essay on her use of dashes. It is so ambiguous I can't help but feel impressed... you can really get lost in her world. Dringo.
While studying English at AS and A2 level holds many delights: 1) Studying the hilarious satires of Ben Jonson and Evelyn Waugh 2) Reading interesting and exciting American literature and plays like 'Streetcar Named Desire' and 'The Great Gatsby' 3) Having relaxed lessons-usually with a mug of coffee near by 4) Having a really good laugh (although this is not always so good-one of my teachers brings the house down, with the sheer volume of his laughter) 5) Making up absolute b*llocks that the teacher can only say 'Ermm, ok, interesting point that, not sure I agree but original!' ...there are some atrocities: 1) Irritating essay titles that always begin with a quote like: 'Dickinson tears the comforting Victorian blanket of language and exposes us to her stark, distinct, jewel like world' and ends with the following: a) Discuss b) Do you agree? c) Comment d) Is this a load of crap that some irritating examiner with nothing better to do has decided to write down so that you fail? 2) EMILY DICKINSON For those of you lucky enough not to know-Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 into a fairly wealthy New England family, and remained in her room and house all her life till her death in 1886. She wrote tons of poetry, none of which (as another opinion has so kindly pointed out) was supposed to have been published, and was scared of death and marriage. Her poetry has many consistencies: 1) It contains many dashes like '-' 2) There are many words that are given the capitol letter treatment, which always causes English teacher/crazy student to leap into the air, foam at the mouth and then explain that that word must be really important. 3) It usually about religion, death, women and marriage. Sadly no poems about baseball matches or trips to the zoo 4) Its very difficult The poems are usually very short, in four line verses,
and although there is some sort of rhythmical and rhyming sense, it is by no means the conventional Tennyson-Poet-Lauriet style. Therefore 'orginal and daring'. Here is a typical Emily pome: 601 --- A still - Volcano - Life - That flickered in the night - When it was dark enough to do Without erasing sight - A quiet - Earthquake Style - Too subtle to suspect By natures this side Naples - The North cannot detect The Solemn - Torrid - Symbol - The lips that never lie - Whose hissing Corals part - and shut - And cities - ooze away - Did you enjoy that? Or did you, like my English set think 'what the **** is that all about?'. Now there are aspects of Dickinson that I like. She often questions religion at a time when this would have been rather daring. Lines such as 'They Went to God's Right Hand - That Hand is amputated now - And God cannot be found -' is outragiusly blunt and very striking. Dickinson is always very intelligent and sometimes catches you out with the meaning and situation of the poem. Her many musings of life and death are rather philisophical and intriguing. But thats where all her praise will stop. Having to sit through lesson after lesson of enthusiastic English teacher babbling on about how she doesn't really understand it anyway, but 'could it mean this?' is rather irritating to say the least. To survive an English lesson you have to: 1) Furrow brow and look worried/thoughtful/little bit scared 2) Say something about death that sounds remotley intelligent 3) Listen as teacher goes off on ten minute monologue about death being summed up in one word 'octopus', nodding occasionaly. 4) Say 'yeah its great, but really challenging. I think I need to study this more on my own before we do an essay' 5) Laugh at people doing Chemistry If you want
a challenging read, pick up Dickinson. Pretentious, minimalist, mystical, bloody annoying. You can get something out of it, but studying it takes away the pleasure. Or, if you attend posh dinner parties with clever people, tuck an Emily Dickinson under your arm and follow the rules on how to survive the English lesson. You will probably be never asked to dinner again, but its a risk worth taking. Well, during another lesson this morning, I decided to write two poems dedicated to our Emily Dickinson. 358 --- I wish - one - day Emily Dickinson had fallen all the - way down the Stairs Before Pen should be pick and begin to pour - her - Thick oozing of Wondrous Words - 632.58 ------ 'Do any - of her poems - Make Sense?' Asked Physics - sitting on the Fence Does she pluck a random word and with it - construct a line Hoping - yes - that people think It - sounds - so - Divine - Or - maybe - it - is True- that all the text is simply poo Designed to torture - Students - poor who upon reading one must do many more And then exam boards in hearltess glee - set a question - far from easy - But who would forget - to mention - Death! As common in her poems As for us is - breath And why include - dashes - so many? And was her name - really Henry? If she had been alive today In her room we all would see Her spending her time not on poems But watching something on tv Watch out Andrew Motion! If you are a Dickinson lover and want to bombard the comments page with abuse, please feel a little bit of sympathy for a poor, poor A level student. I'm sure I would like her poetry if I didn't have to study it...
Dickinson’s apparent obsession with death is unnerving to the casual poetry reader. Her unorthodoxy of approach heightens the barriers to appreciation of her remarkable body of work. Her poems were not intended by her for publication, and indeed were published only posthumously, which goes some way to explaining her idiosyncrasies as a poet - the poems’ lack of titles, their being punctuated with frequent dashes and her seemingly irregular capitalisations. To see beyond these characteristics is to peer into a troubled mind; Dickinson’s neuroses are at the forefront of many of her poems (“I felt a Funeral, in my Brain”), but her skill is such that the reader may fully appreciate her pain and suffering, with such clarity is it described. Many see Dickinson as a purely depressive poet, but her poetry spans the entire range of human emotions; perhaps her most beautiful poem opens with the wonderful: “‘Hope’ is the thing with feathers-- That perches in the soul--” She speaks of the persistence of hope, which serves to accompany her in her darker moments, gently reminding her of better times. A poet of substance and intelligence, Dickinson deserves not to be overlooked as one of the foremost 19th century American poets. Easy to read she is not, but make the effort and you will be glad.
I have decided to write an opinion on my favourite lady poet of all time, Emily Elizabeth Dickinson. She was, apparently, a lovely lady and as it was found only after her death in 1886, also an extremely talented poet. She was born in Amherst, Massachusetts in 1830. Her father was a congressman and in his house she was in constant contact with churchmen, politicians, writers and scholars. It is believed that as a result of an unhappy love affair she became a recluse sometime after 1854. Whatever the reason was for her recluses, she dedicated herself entirely to poetry. The depth of her dedication did not become apparent, however, until her death. She left behind 1,775 poems which, taken together, add up to a most impressive body of work. All of these poems are short, epigrammatical and condensed. Their metre is uneven, and the tone of these poems varies from the profound to the whimsical. She is acknowledged by many as the greatest woman poet that ever was in the English language. Some of her poems are found to be indecipherable and a lot seem to have hidden sexual meanings (naughty girl, heehee). The most famous of these being: “Unmoved-she notes the Chariots-pausing- At her low Gate-.” Of what the ‘low Gate’ is can only be left to the imagination. Only a handful of poems are thought to have been published in her lifetime, which were most likely released under a male alias. Because they were found upon her death, she had not named a lot. To save confusion, a lot of poems were given names, such as: ‘Escape’ and ‘Confusion’. The best and handiest source of dates of original composition (usually only approximate) is ‘The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson’, edited by Thomas H. Johnson, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, n.d. (1960). What I like about Emily Dickinson was that she was actually a war poet. Having live
d through one of the best-known wars in the history of man and seldom writing about it, means she certainly deserved the recognition she receives in Salinger’s ‘Catcher in the Rye’. My favourite poem of Ms. Dickinson’s was ‘Because I Could Not Stop For Death’. The poem is of her curiosity of death, which appears to her like a dream. Because she cannot stop for death, she doesn’t understand it; death stops for her, death intervened to show her something of its nature. The first paragraph is as follows: ‘Because I could not stop for Death- He kindly stopped for me- The Carriage held but just Ourselves- And Immortality.’ The way she strategically places the capital letters shows respect for the words. This characteristic is also seen in the later, Dublin influenced poetry of Patrick Kavanagh. I suggest that you read some other of Emily Dickinson’s poems and please do not feel that you must make sense out of them. Don’t bully them in the hope that they will yield up the hidden meanings, of this wonderful woman, in a manner, which can be paraphrased and summarised. Just read and read again, and from somewhere an inner voice will appear and over time, you will be enlightened. I hope you like the opinion, Zeroned.