Saturday, April 23, 2011

Emily Dickinson, Published Poems & Nineteenth-century Women's Poetry

--Emily Dickinson is paired with Whitman as the most important poets of nineteenth-century America and typically seen as radically different from her peers. There were many successful women poets of the period, Sigourney and Cary being relatively exemplary. Compare the Dickinson poems assigned for Monday with those of Sigourney and Cary. To what extent are Dickinson's poems significantly different in terms of form or content?

--Dickinson published very few poems during her lifetime and the ones selected for today represent a majority of those. If you were to study just these poems, what do you think they would tell us about Dickinson as poet or person?

1 comment:

  1. If I were to study just these poems from Dickinson, I would think that she sees nature as being very positive and exciting. I would also say, that she has a large focus on religion. I saw her image of religion as being pretty progressive. In her poem #236, when she wrote, “So instead of getting to Heaven, at last- I’m going, all along,” (2563) I saw this and the entire poem as suggesting that even though she may not have gone to church, she was still just as religious and just as worthy of heaven as anyone else. I’m not positive, but I would think that during this time, that would have been a pretty big statement seeing as how important a physical presence in church probably would have been at the time. Also, I think that she sees nature as a way of being close to God and religion. In poem #207, she discusses the feeling of being, “inebriate of air,” and then at the end of the poem describes angels and saints seeing tipplers leaning against the sun (2562). To me, this creates an image of a heaven and nature, as we know it, interacting in a peaceful and calming way. I had always been told that her poems were very dark and depressing because of the life she lived, but I didn’t get that feeling at all from these poems.

    --jessica schuster