Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Boy Does Alice Look Like Emily Dickinson or is it just Me?

Wow. Just wow. What a way to end the course, with a little love poetry from Emily Dickinson, but like everything else we've looked at, there's a little bit more than meets the eye. Before I talk, maybe watch this. It's a little creepy, and a little cool.

So there's Emily 'doing' Emily; like I said, little creepy, but a little cool.

And that's the nature of Emily Dickinson: so much mystery, so much intrigue that it's just awesome to study and look at. She is without a doubt, the most interesting author I've closely studied in a class. On the surface, her poetry without looking at her life story is fantastic and interesting, but when you dive into her personal life and struggle of a life story, you quickly realize it's difficult to separate woman from mystery, poetry from life, &c.

You can also see a progression in hear earlier poetry to her later poetry. Although anyone can relate to this, it's fun to say "OH, me too! I wrote like this when I felt like that!" but readers are really able to detect what kind of mood Emily was in when she wrote. Which leads to my next sell.

At first, I totally wasn't buying the conspiracy suggestion that Emily was/had a lesbian affair with her brother's wife; but after it was proposed to us in class, I'm buying big time. It's so obvious that in the same way my poems from sixth grade are about how much I hate every girl in my class because 'flowers are corny,' you can see that her love poems from after her brother's marriage are bitter, disillusioned and even cruel towards the institution of marriage and romance.

Look at Poem 49 (XLIX)
"We outgrow love like other things
and put it in the drawer,
Till it an antique fashion shows
Like costumes grandsires wore."

We outgrow love?!?!?!? Holy crap Emily! We put it in the drawer!?!?!? If that's how you want to describe forever banishing yourself to your room! Emily locks herself in the drawer, her room more like. She let's it dust over like 'antique fashion;' this is awfully sad stuff. She is devastated over losing her friend and lover. I want to give her a hug, or something.

But not all her writing is sad, often, these short lines contain moments of sublime joy:
"If you were coming in the fall / I'd brush the summer by."
It is lines like this that reflect that Dickinson did in fact feel and enjoy real, true love. And she's great at it.

Her writing is full of delight, curiosity and tragedy. It's truly a shame she had to end her thoughts on such dismal, meek terms. One must wonder what Dickinson's poetic legacy would have been had it ended on happier terms?

Perhaps her and her friend lover would have ran off and been happy? What would this have done to her writing? To American writing?

Makes for a happy ending at least....


  1. Thankfully my voice dubbing was legit and we did not dub any voice on top of my face so I dont look like one of those singing hillbilly fish as does...this video.

    do I look like Emily Dickinson? I am not sure but I had fun exploring her poetry and bringing her back to life in my own way :D

  2. Alice does resemble Emily in a way! Maybe it was the outfit haha. But I love what you say about it being difficult to separate a woman from her poetry. We write what we feel, so her poems are a reflection of her true self. Some are negative, but there are a few that are actually happy and praise the idea of love. So, I agree with you that Emily did know how to feel love.